Reel passion to serve
Two locals have joined the ranks of career firefighters after graduating from an intensive 21-week training course.
Blake Lee, of Safety Bay, and Kylie Simmons, of Secret Harbour, were among 26 recent graduates of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Firefighter school.
Before joining DFES, Ms Simmons had served in the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
Her passion for service to the community was the driving force in her decision to become a firefighter. She will begin her new career in Cockburn.
Also previously serving in the Royal Australian Navy, Mr Lee had taken part in many fire and rescue exercises and incidents on ships and held a passion for fire and rescue work. He has been posted to Mandurah to begin his firefighting career.
“I spent seven-and-a-half years in the navy but always had a passion for a career in firefighting ... but it’s very different fighting a fire in a marine environment and on land,” he said.
“I knew it would be very competitive to be accepted into the course and a personal challenge to complete the course and qualify as a firefighter.”
Mr Lee said he had loved the course and he had made “some great mates among class members”.
“It really was the students and high-calibre staff that made the course such an enjoyable experience, even though it was really demanding and difficult,” he said.
“The graduation was a highlight of the training. It was great to be able to demonstrate our new skills to our families who have supported us through this intensive experience.
“I’ve done a number of shifts at my new station now. The team are all really nice and I feel very welcomed here.”
Emergency Services Minister Reece Whitby congratulated all the graduates who had spent the past five months training and preparing themselves for their new careers.
“It takes a great deal of compassion and commitment to dedicate your life to protecting your community,” he said.
“I wish each of the new firefighters all the best as they embark on their careers at fire stations across WA next week.”
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