Mount Taylor's Lucas Rowley, Emily Crane and Dylan Grayham
Three Mount Taylor locals are paving the way for a new generation of volunteers at their local CFA brigade.
The Mount Taylor ‘young stars’ Emily Crane, Dylan Grayham and Lucas Rowley, are under the age of 24 and all have a leadership role within the brigade.
While all three aspire to wear the Captain’s red hat, the close-knit team would prefer to share the responsibility with each other, with current Captain Geoff Crane noting the trio are barely seen more than three metres away from each other.
Dylan Grayham holds the position of Brigade Secretary and is currently working for the East Gippsland Shire and studying Business Administration. Dylan is hoping that he can move through into Emergency Management and get more experience in the future to enhance his skills. He would like to stay in East Gippsland, but also yearns to be a career firefighter.
Emily Crane loves her job at Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMV) where she gets to work in the field every day. Emily can see lots of opportunities with the Department and has the energy and determination to better herself in any situation. She is also the Community Safety and Education Officer within the brigade.
Lucas Rowley is the youngest of the group, at just 20 years of age, and was recently named Mount Taylor’s 2022 Firefighter or the Year. Lucas came up through juniors in Hastings Brigade before his family moved to Bairnsdale, and has a Cert III in Horticulture, where he currently
When asked to reflect on the best opportunity they have received in CFA so far, all collectively agreed it was heading out on strike teams.
“I recall going with the District 11 strike team to the NSW fires on November 11, 2019 on my first interstate deployment,” Dylan said.
“Seeing all the people who gathered to come and do their respective jobs and work collaboratively on the fires has really left an impact on me.
“Learning from the bigger jobs is great, there are lots of people who are all willing to share their experiences and information.”
Emily also got to serve during the Black Summer Fires on local strike teams at Bruthen. While, both Dylan and Lucas went to Echuca last year on a strike team to help out with the flood recovery efforts, which they describe as an amazing experience.
“We’re lucky to have some fantastic mentors within Mount Taylor. Everyone is so helpful, and that spans right across the brigade,” Lucas said.
“We can get help from the Captain, the officers, and even from the old guard like recent Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) recipient Ken Stuart.”
All three of Mount Taylor’s ‘young stars’ have taken advantage of the training available in CFA to develop new skillsets, including wearing breathing apparatus and structural firefighting sessions, and more recently for Emily and Lucas, the chainsaw course.
To top off their combined efforts they all compete in and fundraise for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the Firefighters Stair climb each year. There are many opportunities in CFA for young people to learn and grow, and Emily, Lucas and Dylan are great examples of how young people can excel in their field with the support of their local fire brigade, all while helping to protect their community.
Mount Taylor supports Bairnsdale and receives on average 80 to 100 calls a year. With the urban sprawl around Bairnsdale, Mount Taylor’s response support has increased significantly over the past four years. With 15 members under 30 and 29 members under 40, they also have an almost even ratio of men and women.
This National Volunteer Week, we are calling on all community-minded individuals who are looking for a new challenge to consider joining their local brigade and apply their expertise and knowledge to CFA.
District 11 are looking for young people throughout East Gippsland to become members across all their brigades, from Mallacoota to Glenaladale, to Omeo and Marlo, and all the way to Bendoc.
Everyone can have a role at CFA – so ‘Give Us a Hand’ and express your interest.
- Lucas Rowley, Emily Crane and Dylan Grayham