Macarthur firie hopes more teens join Fire and Rescue work experience program

Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW
Picture: Fire and Rescue NSW

Fire and Rescue NSW wants more Macarthur teens to consider doing work experience as a firefighter.

The emergency services organisation offers a work experience program which covers many aspects of a day in the life of a Fire and Rescue staff member.

From search and rescue through to hazmat and fire investigation - students will have the chance to try their hand at all things the service has to offer.

Senior firefighter and program coordinator Ariel Leonard said she took part in the program herself as a year 10 student at Camden High School.

"I was 16 when I took part in the program and I loved every minute of it," she said.

"As soon as I finished I decided I wanted to apply."

The Oakdale resident said the program offered something for everyone.

"We don't just put out fires," Ms Leonard said.

"We are hazmat, we are search and rescue, we are aerial support.

"It depends on the day what the students will get to do but we go through everything about the organisation, what is required to apply and how recruitment works.

"We take them to different stations so they can see how people work.

"We let get them hands on with hydrant and hose work, we run drills, do some search and rescue - and generally the teens don't know each other so it's a lot of team-building and getting out of your comfort zone as well."

The program runs from Monday to Thursday from 8am to 4pm.

Ms Leonard said the program was a real eye-opener for students interested in working in the emergency services.

"Not everyone who comes through wants to be firefighter, some people want to be in an another emergency service and this is another great way for them to learn," she said.

"It might even be a new pathway for them to consider."

Ms Leonard said spots tended to fill up fast.

"A lot of people who are keen sign up well in advance - we already have some dates that are already nearly booked out," she said.

"It's great for teens who want to give back to their community."

The passionate firefighter said being a part of Fire and Rescue NSW was a rewarding career.

"For me it's not just about being able to help people on their worst day, I love the community engagement side of my work as well," she said.

"I hope to educate people so that we can prevent fires from happening.

"If I can teach these kids how to use an extinguisher, how to use a fire blanket, not to put water on an oil fire - it's worth it.

"They might go home and change somethings or when they move out they already have that knowledge.

"That's what I enjoy most about my work."

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