Luke Welch's son, Aston, considers following his father's footsteps in a South Grafton fire truck.
Luke Welch's son, Aston, considers following his father's footsteps in a South Grafton fire truck. Tim Jarrett

Regional fire-fighters relish diversity of job

SOUTH Grafton fire-fighters say there is a lot more to the job than just putting out the odd fire, and that is part of the appeal.

At the South Grafton fire station open day there were many on hand to show people in the community what being a fire-fighter was all about.

"Some people think we sit around waiting for fires, but we spend a lot of time putting smoke alarms in houses, assessing fire risks in buildings and maintaining hydrants,” South Grafton fire-fighter Andrew Smith said.

"There is nothing worse than getting to a job and finding a problem with a hydrant.”

New recruit Luke Welch said he joined NSW Fire and Rescue because he wanted to do something to help the community and enjoyed the practical and diverse nature of the work.

"It is challenging, but to be able to jump out of bed in the middle of the night and help someone who might be having the worst day of their life is rewarding,” he said.

"There is the adrenaline when you get that call, you just don't know what it is going to be until you get to the station.

"But you also have to composed.”

Fire-fighter of 25 years, Graham Richards, said the role was more diverse in the country and the smaller community lent itself to a greater sense of inter-agency camaraderie.

"We attend motor vehicle accidents, oil spills and hazmat incidents, like when someone finds a drug lab,” he said.

"Many years ago in the city there was a sense of us and them, but in the country it is a case of mates helping mates.

"We support the SES and the RFS and they support us so all those smaller teams come together at times to make one big team.”

The fire trucks of today are more advanced than ever with gas detection equipment and thermal imaging cameras (TICs) which can assist fire-fighters during house fires and also at road accidents.

"At night if someone has been ejected from the vehicle and wandered off into the bush we can find them with the TIC.” Said Mr Richards.

The station is looking for new recruits and Mr Smith encouraged people to apply, saying there were opportunities to learn new skills and it didn't require a lot of prior knowledge.

"As long as you are reasonably physically fit and don't mind getting out of bed at any time of the day or night.”



70 years on, DEX is still part of JK's life

premium_icon 70 years on, DEX is still part of JK's life

Former production man John Kenny reflects on half a century

Friendly new face has big plans for grocer

premium_icon Friendly new face has big plans for grocer

Prince St supermarket in new hands

Vehicle that left highway found under a bridge on its roof

premium_icon Vehicle that left highway found under a bridge on its roof

Emergency services had to search for the vehicle due to its location