The days of showing up to the fire station and jumping on the back of a fire truck are long gone. In the not too distant past that is exactly what happened, and the CFA has struggled with shaking the image of booze drinking blokes only getting together on a Wednesday night for a BBQ over the last 2 decades.
Fortunately, the CFA has progressed a LONG way in a very short time. So, what does it take?
On induction, new members are run through a 6 month long ‘Recruits’ course - this teaches them the very basics of fire fighting and fire safety. During this time, once a week, the Probationary Fire Fighters (or affectionately ‘Probies’) attend training either here or at a nearby brigade. They learn about team work, fireman-ship, techniques and most of all about safety and personal protection.
Upon completion they will receive their own set of Wildfire Personal Protective Clothing and they attend our brigade for training and team building, as well as the occasional social night.
From here, a probie is allowed to ‘turn out’ to a fire having received their Pager. On the fire ground they are closely mentored by a senior and experienced fire fighter and taught more ‘in field’ information. Progressively, the Fire fighter continues their training and will become one of the crew, they now fit in to a group of individuals with both the theoretical knowledge and practical experience to ensure safety is kept at all times.
Depending on each individuals time commitments, they can continue their learning and do a multitude of extra courses and gain extra qualifications, the most common of which is to become ‘Structurally Qualified’ and receive their own set of Structural Personal Protective Clothing.
Most of all, the probationary members meet new people, have an absolute ball and learn some very useful life skills.
All Qualifications undertaken by Fire fighters are Nationally Recognized and fall into the “Public Safety and Training Packages” skill set outlined by the Federal Government.
Most importantly however is the camaraderie and sense of belonging that members have, it often feels like one big family and we are always helping each other out. You don't have to join as a firefighter if you don't want, there are numerous roles for Brigade Members that help out.
Inquire today via the CFA web site; http://www.cfa.vic.gov.au