Six new recruits to battle blazes in the North Coast region
QUEENSLAND Fire and Emergency Services' North Coast Region has six new recruits qualified to respond to incidents after they completed the extensive Auxiliary Recruit Training and Education Program.
Run across six weekends, the recruits underwent around 80 hours of training and testing, and are now paid part-time firefighters for their local areas.
A presentation was held in Gayndah on Saturday night before the recruits showcased their new abilities, with a hot gas response demonstration.
"It's an excellent presentation of how our recruits have been training over the past few weeks," area commander for the North Burnett Kent Freeman said.
"I want to congratulate the recruits for the time and effort they've put in to get this far because a lot of people don't make it through the process, so it's a credit to the firefighters here that they've stayed the course.
"This is their initial training to get them on the trucks, and after this weekend they're able to respond to incidents, they get their pagers and they're good to go."
Family and friends watched on as the recruits avoided flames to rescue a dummy in three different scenarios.
The first was a car that had crashed into a gas bottle, with a passenger unconscious inside.
"The second was two big gas bottles against a board, to simulate them up against the wall of a house, and they had to rescue a person who was damaged or injured by the explosion that caused the fire to begin with. These things can happen if someone is just changing their gas bottles," Gayndah Fire and Rescue Service captain, and trainer, Ron Mitchell said.
"The third was a simulation of household barbecue with a busted hose."
The barbecue simulation prop was brand new, an addition to the North Coast's gas training container that was dropped at Gayndah on Saturday morning.
For existing firefighters in the region, the container will also be used for refresher training towards the end of the month.
Mitchell Ballin from Gayndah, Jess Seeley from Eidsvold, Scott Weir from Pomona, Will Niemann from Wondai, Jacob O'Driscoll from Mundubbera and Peter Jones from Wooroolin were the six recruits to complete the program.
Mr Ballin will join Gayndah Fire and Rescue Service, giving the station a full compliment of 11 firefighters.
"Having young recruits gives the stations stability, if they like it then they can stay there for a long time," Mr Mitchell said.
"We've been quite fortunate in Gayndah because we've had a lot of firefighters who want to stay, the community wants those people who are loving their job out their protecting their community.
"This could also be a starting step for a career as a permanent firefighter."
Trainer Paul Mardon said a desire to help their local communities, and enthusiasm, is especially evident in regional recruits.
While they are now able to respond to incidents, the recruits' training has just begun.
They will go on to complete pump training where they will learn how to drive the fire trucks and operate the pumps.
"They'll also learn about road crash rescue training, chemical rescues, and other fires as well," Mr Freeman said.