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Tom Lavery used his skills as an RFS cadet to save his family home. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Tom’s RFS skills save family home

Lynne Mowbray|

Nymboida teenager Tom Lavery was able to use the skills and training gained from his Rural Fire Service (RFS) cadet program at high school, to save his family home during November’s horrific bushfires.

Tom said that undertook the cadet program in year 9 at the Clarence Valley Anglican School (CVAS).

“(After completing the cadet program) I joined the RFS and helped to run the program when I was in year 10,” Tom said.

“The program has helped me to understand how a fire behaves, how to rake back the leaves and put in (fire) lines to help stop the fire.

“Learning these skills helped me decide that I wanted to be in the RFS.

“I’m a member of the Nymboida brigade although I still need to do my basic assessment, which we haven’t been able to do yet because of the fires.

“A couple of us weren’t able to help fight the fires as we hadn’t completed the assessment.

“I had all the training to help, but I couldn’t help fight other people’s fires.

“My dad John and I were raking for hours to put in a containment line (around our house).

“The fire came through and there are four houses on the one property and they all went up, except for one.  

“The fire picked up and came round our house and burnt one of our sheds, but we were able to save our big shed and our house,” he said.

Tom said that he was able to use his training to tell his mum what she could do to help. 

He said that he’d like to be able to encourage other teenagers to give the RFS cadet program a go.

“Even if you don’t want to join the RFS, it’s great skills to have. It saved my house.

“Joining the RFS is great and you learn a bunch of stuff and get new friends – it’s great.

“(Showing that you are a member of the RFS) also looks good on your resume,” he said.

2608 Fire approaching the family’s home. Image: Kim Lavery
Tom and his father John fighting off the fire. Tom used his training from the RFS cadet program, to save the family home at Nymboida. Image: Kim Lavery