Richie Dalkin

Alpine Observer - - News -

What is your job?

My of­fi­cial ti­tle is project fire­fighter but within Parks Vic­to­ria and For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria we are known as the fire crew.

Our work in­volves fire sup­pres­sion and man­age­ment dur­ing peak sum­mer pe­ri­ods and fire prepa­ra­tion works in spring and au­tumn.

Fire prepa­ra­tion is clear­ing fallen trees off fire tracks, park main­te­nance, main­te­nance of pub­lic ar­eas and walk­ing tracks, and pest weed man­age­ment.

We do planned burns in au­tumn, and li­aise with the pub­lic so they know what we are do­ing.

We also sup­port po­lice and SES in search­ing for miss­ing peo­ple. That doesn’t hap­pen so of­ten. There is a cer­tain el­e­ment of dan­ger in fire con­trol, but it’s a cal­cu­lated dan­ger and well man­aged.

There are safety poli­cies and pro­ce­dures in place to help us man­age the risks.

Is it some­thing you al­ways wanted to do?

It wasn’t the dream job I al­ways saw my­self do­ing.

But it’s a job I found I had the most ex­per­tise and skill at do­ing.

In se­condary school I wanted to be in vine­yard man­age­ment.

Our fam­ily in Western Vic­to­ria had a vine­yard and a farm and I saw my­self tak­ing over the fam­ily busi­ness.

I guess I re­alised I wasn’t a farmer and that there was a big wide world out there out­side farm­ing.

I started a three-year qual­i­fi­ca­tion in vine­yard man­age­ment and half way through I de­cided I wasn’t re­ally into that so I went off and got my­self some work ex­pe­ri­ence with the De­part­ment of Sus­tain­abil­ity and the En­vi­ron­ment, as it was then.

I did fire crew with the DSE in Bal­larat for seven sea­sons, pretty much what I’m do­ing here.

How do you come to be in the val­ley?

Be­tween fire sea­sons in Bal­larat I started work­ing win­ters at Falls Creek as a snow­board in­struc­tor and re­alised the area was a nice place to live.

I came to work here in 2014. This work is sea­sonal so I still work at Falls Creek over the win­ter.

What do you love about the job?

I like the con­stant chal­lenges that come up in both jobs and I love be­ing able to work out­doors ev­ery day.

What do you do in your spare time?

We are cur­rently re-paint­ing our house. I like spend­ing time with fam­ily and friends.

I like ex­plor­ing all parts of Vic­to­ria and I have a plan to travel and visit a lot of my friends in dif­fer­ent parts of Aus­tralia.

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