Course fires up passion
MONTO State High School students are a protective little bunch, Rural Fire Brigade training and support officer Joe Cullen said.
He believed a connection to their land and hometown was what drew the “largest number of high school students he has ever trained” to become Certificate II qualified rural firefighters.
But the fortnightly training sessions and three-day final workshop left many of the 17 newly qualified students wanting more.
Ryan Cooke, Chris Whitley, Josh Larsen and Ayla Fitzpatrick all said firefighting was now their number one career choice.
“I just get a kick out of putting out fires,” Chris said. “I’ve seen a few around here, so it’s pretty important to know how they work.”
Josh has started to appreciate the importance of not just extinguishing fires but preventing them in the first place.
“We had a bit of a walk around town last week, to see if there were any overgrown trees, but it all looked nice and safe,” he said.
“Farmers are really responsible when it comes to back-burning around here.”
But Ayla sees herself in the urban firefighting scene.
“I suppose it’s a bit more dangerous, there are more structural fires, but I would like to live on the Gold Coast,” she said, with a smile.
Mr Cullen said he was blown away by the “great committed bunch”.
LEARNING SKILLS: Chris Whitley and Josh Larsen both hope to become career firefighters.