The heat was on for Canberra’s newest firefighters on Wednesday, as they battled raging oil tanker fires, made daring rescues from high-rise buildings, and pulled a driver from the wreckage of a crashed car.
The service welcomed 16 new firefighters into its ranks at a graduation ceremony at the Emergency Services Agency’s Hume training facility on Wednesday.
The graduates showed off the skills possessed by the modern firefighter in front of a crowd of friends, family and senior officers.
The ceremony also involved the new National Emergencies Medal being awarded posthumously to David Balfour, an ACT firefighter who was killed while serving in the Victorian bushfires in 2009.
His wife, Celia Balfour, accepted the medal on his behalf, telling the audience David had been ”very pleased and very proud” to be part of the firefighting family.
”He appreciates, even in his absence, all of the honours that are bestowed on him,” Mrs Balfour said.
The new recruits tackled a raging fire burning through an oil tanker, rescued a victim from a high-rise building, and pulled a dummy from a simulated fire environment.
The 16 men were put through an intensive training regime, bonding with one another as they studied.
For Thomas Rose, 27, the graduation was the realisation of a childhood dream.
”Way back when I was probably about six years old, I visited the Queanbeyan fire station with my local preschool,” Mr Rose said.
”Pretty much from then I knew one day I was going to become a firefighter,” he said.
He managed to break into ACT Fire and Rescue on his first attempt.
About 10 per cent of applicants are accepted to join the recruit college.
Mark Blake, 43, made the decision to become a firefighter later in life.
He enjoyed a long career in the army and project management, before finding his ”true calling”.
”It was a pretty easy decision in the end,” he said.
He was jointly awarded the chief officer’s award with recruit Michael Kenna for achieving the top grades in the recruit college.
The new batch of firefighters will be deployed to Canberra’s streets this weekend.