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The day we trained with the Chief
As darkness fell at Bangholme on Monday (6 July), members of this year’s career firefighter recruit course #1 felt a mix of nerves and excitement as they were joined for night drills by Chief Officer Euan Ferguson.
As the group draws to the end of an intensive 19-week training course, each recruit was keen to perform well in front of the big boss.
Last Monday’s night drills were extensive and the culmination of several weeks’ training, allowing recruits to apply newly-acquired skills in simulation of a real incident.
Acting Operations Manager Chris Bigham said the Chief always enjoyed getting in the thick of things.
“It certainly isn’t expected of him,” Chris said.
“It’s pretty inspirational to have the leader of the organisation down there learning their techniques, working alongside them, maintaining that energy.”
The group of 30 firefighters-in-training worked through two complex drills involving flammable liquid and gases, deploying hose and water streams to control and extinguish each fire.
Chris said with the Chief often positioned at the lead, the drills reflected a real-world example of an operational leader relying on frontline personnel.
“He was reliant on the teamwork and the support of the recruits around him to achieve the aims of the drill,” Chris said.
“The challenge for the recruits was to maintain concentration and the intensity of their response throughout the shift.
“They started off with a bit of apprehension, but at the end there was a great sense of pride having worked alongside the Chief on the fireground.
“There were certainly a few fist pumps afterwards.”
The night couldn’t have gone ahead without the organisation and support of Acting Operations Officer Tim Van Den Driest and the instructors; SSO Matt Jones, SSO Gareth McDermott, LFF David Black, LFF Ashley Mulcahy, LFF Paula Treacy, LFF Claire Healy, LFF Alex Mihai and LFF Fedele De Leo.
CFA photographer Keith Pakenham attended on the night and captured some spectacular images.