Mate­ship forged in academy train­ing

Western Suburbs Weekly - - News -

THEY may have been born almost two decades apart but no gen­er­a­tion gap could have come be­tween mates Michael Zotti and True­man Faulkner at the Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices Academy last year.

Jolimont res­i­dent Faulkner (44) said he and Ned­lands lo­cal Zotti (26) would reg­u­larly carpool and help each other study to sur­vive their gru­elling 17-week train­ing.

After grad­u­at­ing among WA’s 23 new fire­fight­ers on Novem­ber 28, both men agreed the “all­con­sum­ing” course was more than enough prepa­ra­tion for their first month on the job.

“They put us un­der so much pres­sure un­til it just be­came sec­ond na­ture,” Zotti said.

“The big­gest chal­lenge has been bush­fires – def­i­nitely the ones I went to down south just be­fore Christ­mas – but we man­aged to pull them up pretty well.

“Peo­ple liv­ing in the area were wav­ing as we drove past and had so much grat­i­tude. That el­e­ment has def­i­nitely been re­ward­ing.”

Faulkner said he had not even started ori­en­ta­tion be­fore his first call-out came within 15 min­utes of ar­riv­ing at Mur­doch Fire Sta­tion.

“We were heav­ily drilled in the later part of our train­ing so that when the bells go, you go,” he said.

“It is great hav­ing the work sce­nario where you have that team­work and un­spo­ken un­der- stand­ing of what needs to be done; ev­ery­one is work­ing to the same sys­tem and to a common goal.”

Hav­ing al­ready spent “a very en­joy­able 22-year ca­reer” as a zookeeper at Perth Zoo, Faulkner said he was the old­est prospec- tive fire­fighter at the academy.

“I got to a point in my life that I wanted to learn some­thing new and get out of my com­fort zone,” he said.

“I have a cou­ple of friends in the fire bri­gade and I thought it would be a good chal­lenge.”

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d431910

Michael Zotti and True­man Faulkner have shared their first month on the job as fire­fight­ers.

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