Fire­man Trev fired up about his job

Central and North Burnett Times - - OVER 50S - Noel Thomp­son noel.thomp­son@cnbtimes.com.au

Trevor Keiler My scari­est job was a house fire on a ru­ral prop­erty where there was a large quan­tity of am­mu­ni­tion and gun­pow­der and when we ar­rived the house was fully in­volved.

MOST peo­ple in Eidsvold would think of Trevor Keiler as that bloke out there at the RACQ garage, or the RACQ man who runs the work­shop on the edge of town.

But Trevor Keiler is re­ally the guy keep­ing us safe and sound in our home.

He is ready to get his gear on, get in his truck and save a life, fight a fire or help out the ambo.

This quiet achiever has just re­ceived another award for his de­vo­tion and his work ethic – the Achieve­ment Medal­lion was pre­sented to him in Gympie last week.

Mr Keiler is a qui­etly-spo­ken man who says his work with the Queens­land Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vice is a pas­sion.

“I started my fire bri­gade ca­reer with the Mun­dub­bera/Eidsvold Fire Bri­gade Board in 1980 un­der the then Fire Chief Len Nel­son and then Max McCauley who was fa­tally in­jured in a plane crash,” he said.

“I re­placed Max around 1988.

“My scari­est job was a house fire on a ru­ral prop­erty where there was a large quan­tity of am­mu­ni­tion and gun­pow­der and when we ar­rived the house was fully in­volved.

“We ran hoses out to add wa­ter to the north­ern tip of the house and pre­vent the work­shop catch­ing fire.

“Almost straight away bul­lets started ex­plod­ing so we re­treated. The bul­let shells were hit­ting the fire truck so we packed up the hoses and moved be­hind the ma­chin­ery shed.”

The lo­cal fire ser­vice has an al­lo­ca­tion of 10 fire­fight­ers, but only seven po­si­tions are filled at the mo­ment, so the team is seek­ing suit­able peo­ple will­ing to help.

Mr Keiler said peo­ple might not re­alise that the fire ser­vice was not just about putting out fires.

That is a small part of what it does.

“If there is a fuel leak, a gas leak or any kind of hazardous ma­te­rial in­ci­dent we re­spond and con­trol or make safe,” Mr Keiler said.

“We write per­mits to burn and con­duct haz­ard re­duc­tion burns in and around town.

“We work and train along­side the State Emer­gency Ser­vice, the Queens­land Am­bu­lance Ser­vice, Ru­ral Fire Ser­vice, po­lice and coun­cil so in an emer­gency we know all con­tacts, equip­ment, and ca­pa­bil­i­ties of the emer­gency ser­vices as a group.”

Mr Keiler’s re­spon­si­bil­i­ties also in­clude help­ing am­bu­lance of­fi­cers re­move peo­ple from farm or in­dus­trial ac­ci­dents, which might be as sim­ple as cut­ting a belt to re­move a stuck fin­ger, to us­ing cut­ting and lifting equip­ment.

“We are re­spon­si­ble for road crash res­cue and I have al­ways had good out­comes... where we get trapped peo­ple out of crashes and into am­bu­lances,” he said.

“I have also on a few oc­ca­sions had an am­bu­lance chopper land on scene at a road crash to take peo­ple di­rectly to a city hos­pi­tal for in­ten­sive care.

“My first road crash res­cue was a truck rollover and an el­derly man was badly in­jured and trapped by the lower legs in the truck ly­ing on its side.

“We cut the roof and peeled it back and started re­mov­ing the dash. There was a large plas­tic esky wedged on the floor and we were sur­prised as a blue cat­tle dog bolted out and didn’t stop. She ran into the nearby pad­dock.

“The man made a full re­cov­ery.”

When Mr Keiler started with the fire bri­gade many years ago he only put wa­ter on fires. Now he does fire safety in­spec­tions in food shops, pubs and mo­tels.

He in­spects fire hose reels, ex­tin­guish­ers, tests dates, staff train­ing records and all fire safety ex­er­cises and con­trol burns. He also per­forms pub­lic ed­u­ca­tion.

Mr Keiler also vis­its schools in Eidsvold and Aber­corn to ed­u­cate Prep to Year 2 stu­dents about evac­u­a­tion, stop drop and roll, smoke alarms and fire safety sto­ries.

“When I started in the fire bri­gade we had a Fal­con ute and had a VW­mo­tor pow­er­ing a pump on a trailer and we sat in the back of the ute, we never car­ried wa­ter like we can now,” he said.

“We then pro­gressed to a truck where four sat in front and the rest stood on a 200mm wide step on the rear and we hung on to hand rails. The truck is in the Eidsvold mu­seum.”

PHOTO: NOEL THOMP­SON

MAN OF MANY TAL­ENTS: Trevor Keiler says there are many more roles in­volved with be­ing a fire­man than many peo­ple re­alise.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.