Townsville’s first firefighter graduation in almost three decades

Twenty-six new recruits have celebrated becoming fully-fledged firefighters with a graduation ceremony held in Townsville today.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford congratulated the recruits and welcomed them to a family like no other.

“Queensland firefighters are at the forefront of their profession both nationally and internationally.

“This is because their training is among the best in the world, which already puts today’s graduates ahead of the pack.

“What’s even more exciting is that this is the first cohort of Townsville full-time firefighter recruits graduates since the early 1990s.”

Member for Townsville Scott Stewart said the new combined Northern Training Operations Support Complex, which opened last year, had given the graduates a great head start in their careers.

“The new support complex has enabled these new recruits, including six women and 20 men, to train with state-of-the-art equipment,” Mr Stewart said.

“All recruits have undertaken an intense 78-day training program where they completed specialised training for live fire behaviour, road crash rescue, technical rescue and hazardous materials management.”

Member for Thuringowa Aaron Harper said the graduates would be working with their colleagues to put out house fires and use the ‘jaws of life’ at road crashes.

“They will also be working with their communities to educate them in prevention and preparedness activities to build a more resilient Queensland,” he said.

“This is the second firefighter graduation in 2019, adding to the 31 recruits who graduated in Brisbane in May.”

One of today’s 26 graduates, Kristy Samal, moved from chilly Canberra a few years ago but now proudly calls Townsville home.

“I moved to north Queensland where I worked as a public servant, so this is a big change,” Ms Samal said.

“I am looking forward to the challenges of being a firefighter where I will constantly be on my toes and know that no two days will be the same.

“I love the community here in Townsville and have really enjoyed living here and being given the opportunity to help serve my community.

“I was fortunate to be accepted into the course by QFES and even more so when the training school was hosted here in Townsville.”

She said the physical challenges of her job and being part of the Townsville SES Unit led her to seek something that would challenge her both mentally and physically.

Firefighters were presented with a Public Safety Certificate II in Fire Fighting and Emergency Operations.

QFES Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing said the firefighter training course prepared graduates to lead their communities during disasters and emergencies.

“QFES has a proud history of working with the people of Queensland, and I believe these recruits will continue to provide the vital fire and emergency services our state needs,” Mr Wassing said.

“These graduates will now commence duties throughout Queensland where they will be deployed as frontline responders to emergency and disaster events.

“To graduate as a firefighter, each recruit must meet the high standards demanded by QFES and the community.

“The dedication and hard work shown by these recruits through this first phase of their training reflects our values of respect, integrity, courage, loyalty and trust.”

The graduates will continue their studies over the next two years, completing a Public Safety Certificate III in Firefighting and Emergency Operations and a Public Safety Certificate III in Community Safety.

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