FROM behind the desk to fighting fires – staff at Port Macquarie Fire Rescue NSW (FRNSW) were put through their paces as they attempted to be a firefighter for a day.
Senior instructor for region north one, Brett Slavin, headed the operation to get the admin staff who work for FRNSW to have a go at a range of tasks their colleagues do in the field every day.
“They are heavily involved behind the scenes, so we wanted to get them on the front line and show them what it was like,” he said.
“We taught them some fire safety as well. We haven’t had one up here before, so we decided it was a good thing to do.
“The admin staff really enjoyed it. They couldn’t believe how heavy the gear was and how involved it is. They said they had a very good time.”
They started off with some basic fire theory before the fire extinguishers came in to play. Staff were shown the correct way to get appliances our of the truck, how to wear a breathing apparatus while searching through a room, and finished with a simulated car fire.
“They had to rush to get on the gear and put out that fire in the car. They all did a fantastic job,” he said.
“For one days training, they did really well. Our retained firefighters have an eight day training program plus ongoing training, so these girls really took it on board and participated highly.
“For some of them, and for a lot of people, it’s a challenging environment. They adapted to it really well and it gave them a good look at life outside the office and the different challenges and situations firefighters can come across during their career.”
Most important was the emphasis on fire safety - not just for the office but for the community.
“We really wanted to ensure they went home and checked their smoke alarms, that they have a home evacuation plan particularly coming into winter where we have a lot more fires in home. That goes for everyone,” he said.
The Port Macquarie Fire Station is located at 5 Central Road, Port Macquarie, and will host an open day on Saturday, May 20 from 10am to 2pm.
For more information about Open Day, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au