Fireman Trev fired up about his job
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.”
MAN OF MANY TALENTS: Trevor Keiler says there are many more roles involved with being a fireman than many people realise.