Mateship forged in academy training
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.”
Michael Zotti and Trueman Faulkner have shared their first month on the job as firefighters.