Diversity brings new perspective to Shepparton East brigade

Member News image Friends, Kamran Malik and Usman Umer from Shepparton East Fire Brigade


Three new recruits have helped to reinvigorate Shepparton East Fire Brigade and also assisted to educate newly settled migrants.


In the past two years the brigade recruited Kamran Malik and Usman Umer from Pakistan and Hem K.C from Nepal who have all migrated to Australia. 

Shepparton East Fire Brigade Captain Dean Marsland reflected this week, at the beginning of Cultural Diversity Week about how the brigades new recruits have been an incredibly humbling and educational experience for them all. 

“The new members have reinvigorated and brought a refreshing perspective to a brigade that acknowledges it has had challenges in the past with recruitment,” Dean said. 

“The area of Shepparton East is evolving, it is increasingly diverse and having Kamran, Usman and Hem, means we can break down some of the cultural barriers that exist between emergency services and newly migrated Australians.

“We have migrants in our area from war-torn countries, where people in uniform don’t represent the same thing as they do here in Australia. 

“I now understand more about the local religions and cultural sensitivities when it comes to emergency response.” 

Cultural Diversity Week runs from March 18 to 24 and this year theme is 'Our Shared Stories - Celebrating together'. CFA aims to reflect the communities that we serve by ensuring CFA is a safe and welcoming place to volunteer. 

Kamran Malik, joined Shepparton East Fire Brigade two years ago and is originally from Pakistan where bush and grassfires don’t occur. His interest in CFA came from wanting to learn more about what he had only previously seen in the media. 

“Being in this role, I have been able to educate my family and friends about the fire risk here in Victoria,” Kamran said. 

“Speaking a second language means I am able to communicate to the Pakistani community in Shepparton.

“After I joined and told my friend Usman about the brigade, and how great it was, he is became a member too. 

“Being able to communicate with him in our native language means I can help explain things to him as he trains to be a firefighter.” 

Dean is excited about the direction of the brigade and hopes others can see the benefits of being truly reflective of your local community. 

“Respect should be at the core of what we do and how we interact with people. 

“I see diversity within our brigade as giving us more tools and skills to support our mission of protecting life and property.”


  • Member News imageHem's mother is visiting from Nepal and is the first in their family to see Hem as a firefighter.
Submitted by Courtney Walker