In the MFB, firefighters work a 10 / 14 system of two 10 hour day shifts followed by two 14 hour nights shifts. In the fire station we eat together, drill together, keep fit together and share our stories with each other. We learn and appreciate each others idiosyncrasies and more often than not enjoy a good laugh.
So when the station tones
go off and we are at a fire call this partnership continues with us; working inside a structure fire in teams, extricating someone trapped in a vehicle or resuscitating a patient, it’s a team effort and a team experience.
The connections we make through these shared experiences, some experiences good… some not so good, results in the close bond we have with our shift mates and those we share our station with from other platoons. This mateship is what sets this career apart from any other. No matter how serious the communication passed on to us on the way to a firecall is, we know that whatever we are confronted with, we will tackle it as a team and if needed support each afterwards.
Visiting schools and participating in community events is a great part of our education programs and one where we work to prevent people experiencing fire and its dangers. People are always interested and supportive of our role in being there to help save lives and protect the community. Kids love to try on the junior firefighter outfits or look through the truck and it is probably why when we are out on the roads so many kids (and big kids) still give us a wave. I never get tired of waving back.
But I think it’s the times you spend in your breathing apparatus, on the end of the hose and inside a room full of fire that you feel most like a firefighter. There are the noises of the room cracking and breaking around you, the heat from the fire, the sound of your breathing and the darkness that fills your senses completely. This is the time you do what you have been specially trained to perform. It is working to save life and property. It’s only after the fire, when you see how your part in this MFB team has made such a difference to someone’s life that you allow yourself to reflect with pride.
As a member of this fire service we work to do our best to protect the community we live in. It has become a special feature of our career with the MFB that we also work to protect the community in times of need through our charitable work. Firefighters around the world have long worked to raise money for charity. So the Firefighters Charity Fund Melbourne is another way that members of the MFB continue this tradition and it is through this charitable work we can do our piece to contribute to the wellbeing of the community we are trained to protect.