Published: 29th January 2009

Eighteen men and women will start fighting fires across Sydney following their graduationtoday from the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Training College in Alexandria.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said today's recruits were equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge required to protect the community in any fire or emergency situation.

"Today's recruits have completed a demanding 16-week training course in areas including firefighting, community risk management, fire technology, rescue and managing hazardous materials.

"The full-time firefighters will not only fight fires but are trained to respond to a range ofemergencies including rescue situations, dangerous chemical spills, gas leaks and even dealing with the consequences of a terrorist attack.

"The recruits will also play a vital role in educating community members and sharing theirfire safety expertise to make communities safer."

NSWFB Commissioner Mullins said the graduates were the first recruit class from the 160 firefighters appointed as part of the NSW Fire Brigade's 2008 recruitment campaign to attract a new generation of men and women to the organisation.

"We had a fantastic response from the public with over 6 800 men and women applying for full-time firefighting careers with Australia's largest fire and rescue service and these eighteen recruits are amongst the thousands of hopefuls recruited into the firefighting ranks."

The recruits come from a variety of backgrounds including retail, physiotherapy, landscaping, teaching and child care.

They will take up positions at stations in Cabramatta, Northmead, Gladesville, Kellyville, Leichhardt, Redfern and across Sydney's CBD. As their experience and training develop, recruits could be stationed anywhere in the state.