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Seaton’s Triple Zero Hero
Ten-year-old Aaron Prisk has received a Triple Zero Hero award for the calls he made during the Aberfeldy-Donnelly bushfire in February this year.
Aaron was the only young nominee to have called during a fire-related emergency.
The first call Aaron made was in the early hours of the morning as spot fires rained down on the property, a small hobby farm near Seaton. Aaron and his father Geoff were already out of bed, having received early warning from a telephone alert.
As the boy’s father went to investigate a spot fire in a paddock, a second spot fire started closer to the house. Aaron went inside and called Triple Zero. CFA attended the property within minutes and assisted Geoff to put out the spot fires.
Mandy, the ESTA call-taker described Aaron as very calm.
“He was great, and coped really well. I could tell he had a sense of humour despite the difficult situation. He told me the house was full of smoke and took on board my advice to get down low in the smoke.
However the ordeal for the Prisks was not over yet, as the main fire front was fast approaching, making it unsafe for them to leave. It would hit about an hour later.
While Geoff wet down around the house and activated the sprinkler system, Aaron took care of tasks around the home such as gathering wet towels. He phoned Triple Zero a second time when the fire front roared through, though this time CFA was “otherwise engaged – quite understandably”.
“To give you an idea of the ferociousness of the fire, an aluminium ladder 10 foot away had melted beyond recognition,” he said. The house fortunately made it through relatively unscathed – the farm’s only losses being a few sheds and most of the fencing.
CFA attended some time later to help extinguish small fires left from the passing fire front.
“Luck played a huge part, as well as preparation,” said Geoff
“It’ll be a full year after the event before we have everything back to normal. The main thing is we’re OK and that’s what it comes down to at the end of the day.
“Triple Zero and the CFA were great, and without them who knows what would have happened. The community, the fundraising efforts have been great, the way people have come together."
Geoff emphasised that he and Aaron’s mother, a former Triple Zero call taker had taught Aaron from a young age when to call, and when not to call.
“I’m a fairly calm person and I think Aaron took that on board. I’m just so proud that he took that responsibility off his own bat and did it so well.” Geoff said.