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Firefighters honoured at graduation

Published: 17th December 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today paid tribute to two NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) firefighters honoured for their courageous actions at a house fire at Hamilton, in Newcastle, this year.

Mr Whan presented Senior Firefighters Michael Butcher and Shane Mackley each with a NSWFB Commendation for Courageous Action during a graduation ceremony for 20 new firefighters at the NSWFB State Training College at Alexandria.

Sixteen senior firefighters also graduated today from a six-week intensive development program to become Station Officers.

"Hamilton firefighters Butcher and Mackley braved extreme heat, fire and smoke to search for four missing people in a burning home," Mr Whan said.

"The conditions were so intense that their uniforms started to burn and the pair suffered superficial burns to their face and neck.

"After a brief rest the firefighters re-entered the house and located an unconscious man, the only occupant in the house, and quickly removed him from the building.

"NSW firefighters do amazing things on a daily basis but sometimes they really go beyond the call of duty. It’s important to acknowledge these remarkable acts."

Mr Whan also presented NSWFB senior engineer Benjamin Hughes-Brown with a Commendation for Meritorious Service for his contribution in promoting fire safety engineering, raising community confidence in the Brigades and increasing the technical skills of firefighters.

"The NSWFB attracts people from a range of backgrounds who want a job which offers diversity, work satisfaction and a solid career path," the Minister said.

"Apart from the award recipients, the graduating class of new firefighters includes former Australian representative baseball, snooker and ice-hockey players and a surf life saving bravery award recipient who, at just 15, rescued a boardrider swept out to sea in treacherous surf.

"NSWFB firefighters undergo an intensive 12-week recruit training course that covers more than 20 subjects, including firefighting, road accident rescue, advanced first aid and resuscitation, community safety education, fire technology and hazardous materials management.

"Training does not stop at graduation. Firefighters keep building up their skills on the job and study to gain extra qualifications throughout their career.

"An example of this is today’s graduation of senior firefighters from the Station Officers’ program.

"To be considered for the program, these fire officers have at least eight years’ experience and have spent the past two years undertaking external public safety training courses," Mr Whan said.
NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins welcomed the new recruits to the NSWFB.

"I can’t help but wonder what challenges they will face in their careers. There is no way that I can really know," he said.

"But what I do know is they will be incredibly proud to join the firefighting family and they will experience immense job satisfaction, just as I have over the past 32 years."

Mr Whan said the new firefighters were in the exciting position of joining at the beginning of a new era, with the announcement that NSWFB would be known as Fire and Rescue NSW from January 1.

"The new name, Fire and Rescue NSW, will better reflect the services this modern, evolving organisation delivers to the community on a daily basis," he said.

The firefighters will take up positions across the Sydney metropolitan area:

  • Firefighter - Station
  • Michael Jordan - Ashfield
  • Luke Thomson - City of Sydney
  • Peter Cooke - Ashfield
  • Andrew Soliatis - City of Sydney
  • Paul Wylks - Chester Hill
  • Peter Cantrell - Concord
  • Shannon Dixon - City of Sydney
  • Brendon Leyshon - Concord
  • Michael Gomez - City of Sydney
  • Bradley Martin - Darlinghurst
  • James Lavery - City of Sydney
  • Adrian Child - Drummoyne
  • Sean Radi - City of Sydney
  • Tim Furner - Lidcombe
  • Matthew Pridham - City of Sydney
  • Dennis Lautier - Silverwater
  • Benjamin Osmond - City of Sydney
  • Karl Strudwick - The Rocks
  • Joel Morris - City of Sydney
  • Michael O’Connor - Woollahra