New fire chief gets stuck in
FOR new Port Douglas fire chief Rory Kelliher, it’s been a life in the service industry.
From the Australian Defence Force to the Western Australian Police to being a firefighter in Queensland, he says the camaraderie with colleagues and giving back to the community is what keeps him going.
“I enjoy the camaraderie that you get in these type of jobs,” said Mr Kelliher.
“It’s a great sense of pride to be able to help your community. When people are most in need that’s the times that we roll out the door and help them.”
Mr Kelliher has been the local station chief since December when he moved up with his wife and two young children from Townsville, and he’s got plenty on his plate just here in Port Douglas.
“It’s a really busy area. It’s a busy position, and this particular station is very busy as well. The team here respond to a lot of jobs.
‘We go to a fair amount of road traffic crashes. Since I’ve been up here we seem to have been going to a lot of swift water rescues as well.”
He’s in charge of more than just Port Douglas though.
“I look after Port Douglas, Mossman, Cooktown and Kuranda. Each of the stations are run by a captain and a number of lieutenants, and my job is to help facilitate the running of the station.
“As you can imagine the amount of logistics required to be able to run these stations requires a bit of background work.”
Mr Kelliher isn’t just an office worker; his speciality is technical rescue - ranging from swift water rescue to vertical and confined spaces.
Six years working out of Townsville has given him a raft of experience, as he was deployed around the state on jobs, including Bundaberg in 2012.
“We were searching houses for people that were reported lost and missing while the houses were filling up with water.
“It was a very intense job, but the best part about it was that the whole community and all of the external fire rescue personnel that came into that incident, everyone worked so well together that it was pretty amazing to see the community spirit of all the volunteers.
“It’s really wonderful to see when everyone pulls together to help one another.”
He said that especially in small communities like those in the far North, a community focus was the way to go.
“I just enjoy the fact that up this way it is very community orientated.
“The police, the ambulance, the SES, fire and also parks and wildlife and the council – we all have to work very closely together to achieve good outcomes.”
Station Chief Rory Kelliher