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In the mix at South Morang
Station Officer Adam Whitford was one of three new career fireys to start work yesterday (Monday 1 June) at South Morang, which has just made the transition from volunteer-only to integrated brigade.
He said he was looking forward to the new challenge at the busy station, based in one of Melbourne’s major growth corridors. “It’s a busy brigade – they are doing a lot of call-outs,” he said.
See also: Career fireys start at Sth Morang
Adam comes to South Morang with almost 13 years’ experience at CFA – three years as a volunteer and ten as a career firefighter that has encompassed stints at Wangaratta, Caroline Springs, Point Cook and Sunbury.
“I’ve worked all around the state, and that’s one of the advantages of the job – you get to see places you wouldn't go to otherwise,” he said.
Adam said the first priority for the career firefighters would be familiarising themselves with the community and the area – and that local knowledge from the brigade’s existing members would be indispensable.
“We’ll be looking to tap into the local knowledge and community contacts – and to pick up as much as we can as quickly as we can.”
Prior to starting off a career as a full-time firefighter ten years ago, Adam trained and worked as an architect and project manager in the construction industry, and was the fourth generation of his family to serve in the Australian Army.
He said that his background had given him skills that still came in handy for his day to day work as a firefighter and emphasised that it was important to recognise what each individual every brigade member – staff or volunteer – could bring to the table.
“There is a really varied range of skills and networks within the brigade, especially when you take into account everyone’s professional backgrounds on top of firefighting, and that gives you a good mix. It’s about using that for the benefit of the community.
1st Lieutenant James Stephens said that brigade members were looking forward to training with the career staff, particularly with a view to developing skills around structure fire response.
“With the area becoming more and more built up, it will be good to have that expertise within the station.”
James said that the brigade change comes with challenges but also the opportunity for positive outcomes.
"The brigade remains firmly focused on the positives," he said. "It’s our community we’re looking after. We will keep turning out and supporting each other. We’re a tight-knit community and we stick together.”
The brigade will move to 24-hour staffing (on a 10-14 roster) later in the year.