Course fires up pas­sion

Central and North Burnett Times - - NEWS -

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”.

PHOTO: EMILY SMITH

LEARN­ING SKILLS: Chris Whit­ley and Josh Larsen both hope to be­come ca­reer fire­fight­ers.

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