group of 23 men and women have completed their training to become Western Australia’s newest career firefighters.
With more than 1,600 applications submitted for Firefighter School 83, making it through the extensive recruitment process was no small feat for the new trainees.
They were put through their paces over the 20-week course as they learned the required skills in firefighting, road crash rescue, hazardous materials and community safety.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM praised the trainees on their success in joining the school.
“The quality of applicants this year was extremely high so the 23 graduates should be very proud of their achievements in becoming firefighters,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“The past weeks have been demanding but the trainees have proven they have the skills and dedication needed to overcome these intense challenges and I wish them all the best.
“There has been a greater focus on attracting a diverse range of applicants for the firefighter schools and I am pleased to see there was a significant increase in the number of women applying.”
A record number of women applied during the recent firefighter recruitment period and this school has the highest intake of women since 1997.
One of the four women graduating from School 83, Kellie Bullen, is no stranger to firefighting as a former volunteer with Broome Volunteer Fire and Rescue.
“After I became a volunteer I realised I loved it so much that I wanted to make it my career so it’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about for a while,” Kellie said.
“My partner and I left Broome to travel around Australia last year but we made sure we were back in Perth in time for the recruitment process. I trained twice a day for three months in the lead up to the recruitment process and I put off finding a job so I could focus on getting into the firefighter school.
“I’ve learned so much and I’ll continue learning on the job, but it definitely helped me having that prior knowledge and experience in firefighting.
“It has been tough but I’ve loved it - everyone in the school is great and the instructors have been really supportive.”
Fellow trainee Lucas Camilleri has been a jockey for 21 years but made the decision to pursue his longstanding dream of becoming a firefighter.
“It’s something that was always in the back of my mind because my focus was on my riding career but I decided it was time to start pursuing it a few years ago and it’s taken a lot of hard work to get in,” Lucas said.
“Fitness was particularly hard to juggle because I was still riding during the time I was preparing. I was conscious of keeping my weight low and not building up too much muscle while also building up enough strength to complete the physical testing.
“It was a bit of a balancing act but my residual fitness from riding for 20-odd years certainly helped on the cardio side of things.
“We’ve learned a whole lot of new skills that are very different to the skills that I’ve been developing over 20 years, so it’s been a lot to take in but I’ve really enjoyed it.”
Commitment and perseverance have seen the trainees of Firefighter School 83 make sacrifices and overcome diverse challenges to embark on their new journey.
Over the next week the new recruits will start shifts at their designated stations, and we wish them the best for the challenging but rewarding career that lies ahead.