Live, learn, sur­vive

Haven Magazine - - WELLBEING - Words: Anas­ta­sia White

When he isn’t res­cu­ing beach­go­ers on the hit show ‘Bondi Res­cue’, or putting out fires as a fire­fighter, Trent ‘Maxi’ Maxwell is com­bin­ing his love of fire­fight­ing and surf res­cue to teach schoolkids valu­able lessons in safety.

Did you know that, of the 291 peo­ple who drowned in Aus­tralian wa­ter­ways last year, 29 were chil­dren un­der four? Or that there were 21,784 fires and ex­plo­sions be­tween 2016-2017 in NSW alone? Trent Maxwell (who you will know bet­ter as ‘Maxi’ from real­ity TV show Bondi Res­cue) has teamed up with Brissy busi­ness part­ner Leigh Ma­son to bring all-in­clu­sive fire and wa­ter safety work­shops to schools, and their ‘Live, Learn, Sur­vive’ pro­gram is off to a crack­ing start. While Maxi (with 10 years of TV ex­pe­ri­ence on Bondi Res­cue, is no stranger to pub­lic speak­ing) is the pre­sen­ter of ‘Live, Learn, Sur­vive’, Welling­ton Point lo­cal Leigh han­dles the busi­ness side of things in their part­ner­ship. Grow­ing up with a swim­ming teacher mum, Leigh too un­der­stands the im­por­tance of wa­ter safety. The pair visit schools around Aus­tralia and have re­cently re­turned from a tour in Leigh’s na­tive United King­dom, all the while ed­u­cat­ing kids about fire and wa­ter-re­lated dan­gers and the sur­vival tips only a pro­fes­sional res­cue worker will know. “There’s re­ally noth­ing like it,” says Leigh. “No ed­u­ca­tion pro­grams com­bine fire and swim­ming safety, while also be­ing rel­e­vant to the en­vi­ron­ment that the schools are lo­cated within.” “Both of these things come re­ally nat­u­rally to me,” says Maxi, who, when he’s not pa­trolling Bondi Beach, works full-time hours as a fire­fighter. “Our pro­gram teaches kids the things they don’t know about fires, like the fact that smoke tox­i­c­ity can be the dead­li­est part of a fire and also that the smell of smoke won’t wake you up – re­it­er­at­ing the im­por­tance of smoke alarms. I try to tell re­lat­able sto­ries and use­ful in­for­ma­tion that I’ve learned from my time in fire and surf res­cue.” Tak­ing in­spi­ra­tion from his fire­fighter great-un­cle, Maxi ad­mits he "lived and breathed" fire­fight­ing as a kid – so much so, that he slept with a gar­den hose un­der his bed at age three, dream­ing of be­com­ing a firey. He even got him­self into trou­ble in kinder­garten for us­ing a real fire ex­tin­guisher when he thought he saw a fire! While he took the life­guard route af­ter fin­ish­ing school in Year 10, he was fi­nally ac­cepted into the Red­fern Fire Depart­ment at age 24 – af­ter five years of try­ing – and has been both a Bondi life­guard and a fire­fighter ever since. “It’s the best job in the world,” Maxi says, de­spite the fact that the Syd­ney City Fire Sta­tion, where he now works, is the busiest in the south­ern hemi­sphere, re­ceiv­ing calls about ev­ery­thing from car ac­ci­dents, to house fires, to cats stuck in trees (yep, it ac­tu­ally hap­pens!). “Maxi’s anec­dotes make the ‘Live, Learn, Sur­vive’ work­shop unique and in­ter­est­ing,” says Leigh. “We try to tai­lor each work­shop to the group we are pre­sent­ing too, and we re­ally aim to reach the schools that might not usu­ally get these kinds of pro­grams.” “Pub­lic speak­ing and shar­ing my knowl­edge have made me so much more con­fi­dent in what I know,” says Maxi. “But at the end of the day, I just like help­ing peo­ple.”­guard­

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