Looking for ’right stuff’ to keep Pomona safe
WHEN you cut your teeth responding to road crashes along what used to be one of Australia's black spot highways, fire and rescue auxiliary assets like the Pomona station are just about up for anything.
Veteran station captain Paul Mardon has been in the thick of the action as an auxiliary first responder and then a seasoned trainer for the past 15 years.
And now the station of 10 part-time go-to people are looking for a couple of new recruits with the right stuff to face down just about anything ... walls of fire, rain and those confronting crashes.
Thankfully since the Cooroy to Curra major road upgrades have been completed, the Bruce Hwy is no longer a head-on collision just waiting to happen with Mr Mardon and his crew on standby to come to the rescue with the jaws of life.
But even an experienced fiery like he is had their mettle and stamina tested to the limits from late last year.
Mr Mardon said Pomona responded to the fierce Peregian fires on a number of occasions and the following Cooroibah/Tewantin fires.
"While those two major incidents were going we also responded to a number of smaller incidents in the region as well," he said.
"We were very, very busy between September and Christmas time."
At the moment their focus is understandably on fire hazard reduction.
"We have plans in place but we need a window of opportunity for the right weather," he said.
He said anyone who thinks they might fit the bill they need to apply online at the QFES website and if accepted there is a two-week recruit course and then ongoing training with that.
"The training we give them is very comprehensive, but because we are an auxiliary we spread that over maybe a 12 or 18 month period," Mr Mardon said.
"You never stop, we had weekly training on a Tuesday which has just resumed after the COVID-19 restrictions have eased.
"We were isolated for about two months but having said that we did respond to emergency situations, we just didn't train."
He said there were a number of prerequisites and "we certainly need someone who enjoys and wants to work in a team environment because that is essentially what we do".
"It's a real response about giving back to the community, and an opportunity to help the community in difficult times," Mr mardon said.
"We need someone who can commit to the job both to operational response and to training on a weekly basis and lives within a reasonable distance to the station.
"Auxilliary firefighters are part-time and we respond to emergency situations as demand arises.
"It's a matter of us combining that we our primary employment and family commitments as well."
Mr Mardon's advice is to make contact with the local brigade and talk to the crew about what is involved.
"We a range of people here at Pomona from business managers to those who are involved in other emergency services.
"Basically the whole spectrum of the community.
"It's just a matter of people coming and having a chat to us initially to see whether in fact this is the job they want to be invovled in and if they can commit the time to it."