Firefighter Profiles

Paul Flynn

Paul FlynnAge: 48

Years as a firefighter with ACT Fire & Rescue: 18

Why did you get involved in firefighting?

I was looking for a career change. I like meeting all types of people and so the idea of doing that while becoming more involved in the community both during emergencies and otherwise appealed to me. Being paid to change career and learn new skills made it more appealing to me than returning to Uni or undertaking other forms of study.

Can you take us through an average day on shift?

A dayshift will commence with a full check of all equipment on the appliances (pumpers and other specialist vehicles) and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to make sure we have everything we are supposed to have and that all equipment is working properly. The diary might have any number of community events such as Fire Education in primary schools, fetes, smoke alarm installations, skills maintenance training so we call the contacts for those events to confirm attendance. There will usually be a few emergencies such as fires, car accidents, building fire alarms, medical assistance jobs etc to attend, so days can be quite busy.

Any specific moments/memories that stand out in your mind?

A couple of memories come to mind. We once assisted ACT Ambulance Service with an elderly and very decorated war veteran who had fallen and hurt himself. To me it was a great honour to repay him in a small way for his service to our country. I also like the things kids say. I once gave a little girl who had been in a car accident a ‘Trauma Teddy’ to help her relax. When she had settled down I told her she could keep it, but she said the Teddy had to get back on the truck and continue his work.

Does shift work provide you with more opportunities to do things outside of work?

A lot of fire-fighters love to get out on mountain bikes, go for a run, play golf or do other things outside of the peak periods on Saturdays and Sundays. The shift work allows that to happen. It’s definitely one of the upsides of the job.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to potential new recruits?

To think about the fact that they will need to function as a team member as opposed to an individual one hundred per cent of the time for their whole career. We are stuck together for the hours we work regardless of what we are doing so we need to be good team players. Oh, and your socks can’t stink.

Kerri Louttit

KerriAge: 45

Years as a firefighter in ACT Fire & Rescue: 9

What did you do before you became a firefighter?

I was a Postal Delivery Officer

Why did you get involved in firefighting?

I was doing a Fitness and Recreation Leadership course when I met some Police Rescue guys packing up ropes and other rescue gear after they had been doing some training. They were telling me about their job and the training they did and I thought that it sounded exciting, but they also told me that the rescue section was going to the Fire Brigade. I found out about the Fire Brigade and what was involved in being a firefighter and thought that it might be a career I would enjoy.

What are some of the highlights of the job?

Every day is different, you never know what jobs you’ll be called to or what you’ll end up doing that day. Also working in a team environment and being able to help people and make a difference.

 Describe some of the challenges of the job?

In the job there are always challenges, every working job is different and will have its own problems to overcome. Dealing with people who are in a time of need and are upset or injured can be emotionally hard too. But it is very rewarding when you work together with your crew and achieve a good outcome.

Why should more women think about firefighting as a career?

It’s a great career for women who enjoy more practical type work and would like an active, challenging and sometimes quite exciting job. Working as part of a team and the camaraderie is another great aspect of the job.

 

Brett Slater

Brett SlaterAge: 46

Years as a firefighter with ACT Fire & Rescue: 12 years

What did you do before you became a firefighter? Electrician

Why did you get involved in firefighting?

I worked with Wormald Fire Systems, through this job I developed an interest in firefighting as a career.

Any specific moments/memories that stand out in your mind?

Delivering a baby on the floor of Kambah Fire Station.

Why should more women think about firefighting as a career?

The job provides great opportunities to contribute, learn some great skills, work in teams and help people in need.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to potential new recruits?

Listen and learn, you can’t beat experience in this job, take a deep breath and slow down.

 

Kaye

kayeAge: I was 19 when I started with ACT Fire & Rescue

Years as a firefighter with ACT Fire & Rescue: 14 years

How did you get involved in firefighting?

I found I wasn’t suited to the type of work where you’re just sitting still all day so I became a retained firefighter to help pay the bills while I was at University. Then I applied to ACT Fire & Rescue at the age of 19.

What are some of the highlights of the job?

What I love most about it is that it’s unlike other roles, you achieve results straight away. You are helping others and that provides a sense of satisfaction other jobs often can’t give.

Any specific moments/memories that stand out in your mind?

Responding to the Christchurch earthquake in 2011, which claimed 181 lives, injured hundreds and affected tens of thousands of people. I went over with people from every state in Australia, but what amazed me was how quickly we banded together and worked like we’d known each other forever. It was a really emotional journey, so to have a team like that by your side was amazing.

Why should more women think about firefighting as a career?

It’s a fantastic profession, and if you’ve got the desire anything is achievable. Women can do everything the men do on the job, we might just do it differently or think about it differently.

What’s the one piece of advice you’d give to potential new recruits?

Give it all you’ve got. Test your skills and level of fitness using the information provided on the Fire & Rescue website and get to the Career Information Days to help you prepare and train for recruitment. And if you miss out the first time, try again, you’ll be in a better position for the next round.

This page was last modified on November 17th, 2015