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Firefighters honoured as new recruits join ranks

Published: 23rd April 2009

Twenty new graduates today joined the State's firefighting ranks as one of their colleagues and instructors were awarded for their efforts to help rescue the victims of a Sydney building site collapse last year.

Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Services Phil Koperberg and NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) Commissioner Greg Mullins welcomed the new firefighters at their graduation ceremonyat the NSWFB Alexandria Training College.

During the ceremony, one of the graduates, Firefighter Eric Miller, and College Training Instructor, Senior Firefighter Mark Wilson, were honoured for their actions during the partial collapse of aconcrete pour on a Bundeena construction site last August.

The pair is among 11 firefighters to receive a Unit Commendation for Meritorious Service for their actions at the incident, in which workers were trapped and injured and the home owner was killed.

Senior Firefighter Wilson was conducting a training course for firefighters at Bundeena fire station when the crew responded to the emergency. Firefighter Miller was an on-call firefighter atBundeena at the time but now is a full-time firefighter.

"Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of the victim and those injured in this terribleaccident," Mr Koperberg said.

"The Bundeena firefighters, under Senior Firefighter Wilson's leadership, put in a tremendous effort on this operation, stabilising the site, constructing improvised access ramps, extricating thosetrapped and providing first aid to the victims.

"Their professional and determined efforts were a credit to themselves and the Fire Brigades. Our firefighters put their lives on the line every day to protect the community. I want to thank the men and women of the Fire Brigades, including today's new graduates, for their commitment to makingNSW a safer place to live."

Commissioner Mullins said the 11 firefighters involved in the rescue operation were worthy recipients of the prestigious Brigades award,  acknowledging their contribution to the difficult andprotracted rescue operation.

He said the 20 firefighter graduates, who would be posted to 16 fire stations around Sydney, were among the best qualified in Australia after completing their rigorous 16-week training course. "They have been trained in firefighting, road accident rescue, community risk management, firetechnology and hazardous materials management," he said.

"They now take up their new roles to protect the community from fires, accidents, hazardous chemical spills and other emergencies, as well as educating people about fire prevention and safety."

Commissioner Mullins said the recruits had joined the Fire Brigades from diverse backgrounds, showing the popularity of firefighting as a profession.

"Today's graduates bring a range of skills to the job, with their previous roles including a plumber, advertising and promotions, Intensive Care Unit nurse, mechanic and jeweller," he said.


Firefighter - Station

  • Damien Slattery - Blacktown
  • Craig Gustard - Kellyville
  • Joseph Ford - City of Sydney
  •  Justin Beckman - Kogarah
  • Tony Ianni - City of Sydney
  • Jeffrey Scobie - Lakemba
  • Eric Miller - City of Sydney
  • Christopher Meadth - Lidcombe
  • Jason Rickwood - Seven Hills
  • John Petterson - Liverpool
  • Matthew Bell - City of Sydney
  • David Ernest - Maroubra
  • Ryan Branighan - City of Sydney
  • Robert Wyatt - Bonnyrigg Heights
  • Harrison Walker - Chester Hill
  • Andrew Kinch - Schofields
  • Joshua Hammond - Darlinghurst
  • John Lavery - Seven Hills
  • Paul Thomas - Gladesville
  • Matthew Hockings - St Andrews