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Firefighting the heart of the Harris family
Today is International Youth Day, which celebrates and recognises young people’s contributions to conflict prevention, transformation and inclusion.
For CFA it's a timely reminder of the vital role our young members play in protecting lives and property of Victorians.
One of those members is Brittany Harris of Wyndham Vale Fire Brigade who at 18 years of age is both an operational volunteer and assistant secretary at her brigade with a bright future ahead of her.
Her passion and commitment to helping the community, you could say, runs in her family. Her Father once a member and her Mother, Kellie Harris, recently transitioned from brigade support role to a turnout member saying Brittany was her inspiration for the move.
“I’ve been around the brigade a long time, fundraising and providing food for events,” she said.
“When Brittany joined it was a real inspiration to see what she gained from being a volunteer and I didn’t want to stand by on the sidelines, I wanted to be out there with her.”
Brittany has loved having her mother by her side.
“It’s definitely brought us closer together and I get to tell her what to do at an incident, which is nice for a change,” she said.
Brittany began her time within the brigade supporting the fundraising BBQs, but she had her sights set firmly on being out in the field, having a countdown to the day she could be a turnout member since she was 12 years old.
“Seeing my dad and mum be a part of the brigade growing up I have always known I wanted to be a CFA volunteer firefighter.”
Brittany is in her final year at school and hopes to continue serving the community through volunteering and studying Paramedicine at University. The first-hand experience she’s gained has given her an insight into a career in emergency services.
“I’ve been to a couple of serious incidents to date and it can be pretty scary.”
“One of my first incidents was a two car collision which involved one fatality in front of the fire station. I was on the hose reel doing fire protection, there was a lot going on and it was hard.”
Despite the challenges, Brittany has great support behind her from the other members at Wyndam Vale and the motivation will always be seeing the people and the families you are out there protecting.
“I remember one incident in particular, a gentleman who almost lost his life came back to thank the brigade. Seeing that and hearing his gratitude was powerful and something I will never forget.”