Ser­vice their pri­or­ity

Hills Gazette - - NEWS - Lau­ren Pe­den

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.

Picture: Depart­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices

Grad­u­ates Peter McCon­key and James Reece.

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