New fire chief gets stuck in

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - Scott Tib­balls

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

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