What binds CFA members is the common goal to protect lives and property, but we’re a diverse bunch. Every member has a story and Faces of CFA introduces you to just some of those stories.
Shaun Williams, Torrumbarry Fire Brigade, District 20
What is your CFA role?
I’m the 1st lieutenant and secretary of the brigade and the 1st deputy group officer of Northern Campaspe Group.
Why did you join?
I was dragged along by the old boy when I was big enough to hold a hose and follow instructions. Our house was one of the five on the old phone alerting system and I haven’t left the brigade since joining even though I’ve moved out of the brigade area. I’m still close enough to get to incidents and as it’s only a small community with a changing demographic from a farming community to more holiday homes, gaining new members is getting more difficult.
What incident has had the greatest impact on you?
One of my first trips away was to the Grampians and it sticks in my mind for a few reasons. I travelled most of the way down on the back of a single cab tanker after only an hour or so notice, and I was involved in a burnover while on the back of a tanker, so it was a big day. Also, at the time of our burnover we heard a mayday call from another tanker in a different strike team situated not far away. We didn’t hear the outcome for a few hours so it was fullon for a while.
Other Incidents that come to mind are a few car accident fatalities on the highway, with a triple fatality being probably the worst.
Who have been your mentors in CFA?
My old boy as he was the one who got me involved in the brigade in the first place. At the time he was the 1st lieutenant and then he became captain. I’ve also tried to learn from the more experienced members in the brigade like my first captain, Chas Hall, by observing the way they go about things.
What have been the highlights of your time in CFA?
Being able to help the local community when things are not going right and seeing the appreciation on their faces. It’s the same with going away on strike teams and being able to help others in their time of need.
For a country boy, driving with lights and sirens through Melbourne also sticks out as a highlight because it’s not something I ever thought I would do.
How do you motivate your brigade members?
I try to motivate my fellow brigade members by being a good leader and hopefully setting a good example for them to follow. Also, I won’t ask other members to do something that I wouldn’t do.
What lessons are you most keen to pass onto other members?
Think things through before going into a situation and if you don’t feel comfortable then speak up so we can discuss a new plan. Safety is the most important thing to consider and it’s up to all of us to look out for safety issues because someone might see something that others have missed.
What interests do you have outside CFA?
I’m a keen water skier and I represented Australia at the 2009 World Water Ski Racing Championships in Belgium and won a bronze medal as part of the Australia F2 team. I also enjoy watching most motorsport.
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