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Congratulations to Glenn Hayes! (more . . .)

Congratulations to Lucketts Volunteer Fire Company member Glenn Hayes, who has just completed Volunteer Fire School, a rigorous 5-month program that qualifies him as an operational firefighter.

Glenn lives in the Lucketts area and in his day job works as a project manager on satellite tracking of aircraft for air traffic control. We are so proud of members like Glenn who have stepped up to serve their community.

If you would like to learn about volunteering with us, please get started today by visiting our Volunteer page. All training is provided free. For those who may not have the time to become a firefighter or EMT, you can join our new Support Services Unit and with just a few weeks of training make an immediate difference by responding to help other first responders at fire scenes.

Glenn sat down with us for a Q&A about his experiences in Fire School and what it means to be a volunteer today.

What motivated you to become a volunteer firefighter?

I was lucky enough to find a nice location in the Lucketts area and I wanted to support the community that has given me a place to live. Also, I have a young son who is very intrigued about engines, ambulances, and other fire apparatus—and I became a volunteer firefighter as well to know how to protect him in the case of an emergency. And finally, to develop a new set of skills. Becoming a Volunteer Firefighter is not for everyone, but the skills I have learnt have given me a greater appreciation of what our firefighters go through on a daily basis.

You’re from Australia — is volunteer firefighting something they have there, or was this an entirely new concept you encountered moving here? And how did you learn about this opportunity?

Yes that's right, G'Day Mate! There are Volunteer Firefighting Associations in Australia, however I had never looked into it until I moved to the Lucketts area. I drive past the station in Lucketts each day and noticed the sign looking for Administrative or Operational Volunteers to join the Lucketts Volunteer Fire Company, and thought I would make the call.

Firefighter School is a combination of intense study and technical facts to master, along with practical skill building. What’s been the most interesting—or challenging—experience you’ve had so far? 

The program is intense and full-on but really rewarding. The instructors have a wealth of knowledge, especially those who have been in the service longer than most of my classmates have been alive. While the concept of “putting the wet stuff on the hot stuff” is true, there is so much planning, preparation, training, communication, that goes into every situation. The classroom work covers a huge range of information—ladders, ropes, hydrants, hoses, hazmat, swift water.

The most interesting experience: Burn 1 & 2. The “Burn Building” at the training center is a concrete building, and they set pallets on fire to generate smoke. And you get in there and you can’t see a thing. It’s nothing like Hollywood! When you go in to fight the fire you’re crawling along the ground, you’re on your knees most of the time.

The most challenging: Well let's start with the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), weighing 40+ lbs., and makes usual tasks a little more difficult. The program offers conditioning for all recruits, and I strongly recommend working on your conditioning to help complete the skills sessions. If you aren't fit now, the workouts in PPE will change that :)

No doubt it’s a challenge to fit all this into your life and work schedule. What would you tell others about finding the time?

Firefighter School is every Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday night and every second Saturday for 5 months, and yes it does make the work-life balance challenging. However, managing the schedule with your other commitments will only be challenging for a short time. For new recruits I encourage you to look over the next 6 to 12 months and plan for it. It will be truly rewarding when you have completed the course and graduate!

What’s the next steps for you in becoming a volunteer? And what do you hope to get from this experience?

Having finished Fire School I plan to ride regularly with the career crew at Lucketts Station 10. In the new year I would like to complete my EMS certifications (3 months) so that I can regularly ride with the career crew on either apparatus. And I also will be working to promote the benefits of becoming a volunteer to colleagues, friends, and family through sharing my experiences and stories.

Besides the satisfaction of helping my community I’ve found that working together with people and building on teamwork has been an opportunity to develop some great friendships.


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