Service their priority
FIREFIGHTER graduates Peter McConkey (31) and James Reece (29) have both swapped other service uniforms for their new ones.
“I’d been in the army for 11 years previously and I’d done a bit of disaster relief up in north Queensland after the cyclones and so I’d seen what Queensland’s fire and rescue service had done and thought it was the sort of career stream I’d like to go into, and obviously still get to do a fairly physical job and get challenged,” Mr Reece, of Parkerville, said.
“I really enjoy the teamwork aspect of it. Coming from a military background and then coming to this, it’s good to continue working with people.”
Both he and Mr McConkey, of Swan View, were among the 24 new Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) firefighters to graduate earlier this month before Emergency Services Minister Fran Logan and DFES commissioner Wayne Gregson.
They completed an intensive 18-week training course to develop their skills in firefighting, road crash rescue, hazardous materials, community safety and urban search and rescue.
Mr Reece is now based at the Midland Fire Station but helps cover other stations across Perth when staff are on leave.
“The shift work means I get to be home a bit more than what it used to be and I don’t have to worry about going overseas,” he said. “I think my background helped especially during the school because there are some aspects to it that are similar to military training.”
Mr McConkey, a paramedic with St John Ambulance for about five years, said his exposure to working for an emergency services organisation and shift work had proved helpful.
“Just the other night we had a motor vehicle accident, fairly minor, but there were ambos, police and a few other firies on the scene and it was weird, my first instinct was to rush to the patient and help out the other ambos because that’s just what’s ingrained in me, and I had to consciously tell myself to step back, I’ve got a different role this time round,” he said.
Mr McConkey has found Welshpool station very welcoming.
Graduates Peter McConkey and James Reece.