Forestry Corporation put nine new North Coast firefighter recruits through their paces at its Grafton training camp in preparation for the fire season ahead.
Staff from across the North Coast were trained in essential firefighting skills such as fire behaviour, tactics and strategy, leadership, command, control and communications, and how to operate the range of appliances and equipment used at fires, said Fire Training and Operations Officer, Adrien Thompson.
“The intensive training program is designed to get new recruits nationally qualified and ‘fire ready’ as forest firefighters,” Mr Thompson said.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has added complexity to this year’s training, but we have changed our approach to make it work and make sure we are prepared for the bushfire season ahead.
“One of the key ways we’ve adapted is to run more camps to minimise travel between regions, as well as a series of personal distancing and hygiene measures to further reduce the risk of COVID.”
Forestry Corporation’s bushfire training camps are essential for developing a skilled and capable workforce for the fire season ahead.
The training program is comprehensive and recruits also get the opportunity to learn other skills like using chainsaws, first aid, chemical use and driving 4WD vehicles and tankers when they return to their depots.
“Safety is always at the top of this list though – our firefighters’ wellbeing is our biggest concern and it all comes back to correct training and procedures,” Mr Thompson said.
“We take our firefighting responsibilities incredibly seriously – our training ensures everyone from our most experienced firefighter through to our newest recruits are fit and ready to be deployed to the fire front.
“We also send crews to assist on large bushfires across all tenures within their local areas, interstate and even internationally, so we need to ensure we are at the top of our game.”
Forestry Corporation is responsible for preventing and managing fires in two million hectares of State forests across NSW.