9 December 2020

'Skills that will last a lifetime': Meet Bombala's future firefighters

| Michael Weaver
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Bombala High School students with firehoses during training course.

The next round of NSW Rural Fire Service recruits from Bombala High School in training. Photo: Supplied.

The region’s future firefighters are being secured with a secondary school program that is paving the way for young people to learn the skills required to handle a bushfire emergency.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) has welcomed 19 students from Bombala High School who recently successfully completed the NSW Rural Fire Service Secondary School Cadet Program at Bombala Fire Control Centre.

Southeastern area commander of the NSW RFS, Chief Superintendent Goetz Graf, said the program is the ideal way to introduce young people to the important role volunteer firefighters play within communities.

“These year nine cadets from Bombala High School have completed an intensive three-day course that has given them skills which will last a lifetime,” he said.

“As well as examining fire behaviour, the students have been taught essential fire safety techniques and gained an appreciation of the work emergency services do every day in NSW.

“The cadet program also offers students the opportunity to experience first-hand the commitment and camaraderie that comes with volunteering, and transition to their local rural fire brigade should they wish. Several Bombala High School students have taken up that opportunity.”

Bombala High School students sitting on firetruck giving thumbs up.

Bombala High School students give the RFS cadet training program the thumbs up. Photo: Supplied.

Bombala High School principal Jai Lester said this is the 12th time the school has participated in the NSW RFS High School Cadets program.

“The RFS cadet program has become such an important part of our calendar each year,” he said. “For years, our students have spoken fondly of the skills and experiences awarded to them through the cadetship.

“It is also very rewarding to see our students carry on and join their local brigades, giving back to the community and being part of such a worthwhile organisation.

“I sincerely thank all staff at the Monaro District for their work in supporting and running this program, and our thanks from the students and staff to the instructors, Group Captain John Reed and District Services Assistant Danny Barker, who helped make the program such a success.”

Goetz Graf with cadet firefighters from Bombala High School in front of firetruck.

NSW RFS southeastern area commander Goetz Graf with the cadet firefighters from Bombala High School. Photo: Supplied.

Chief Superintendent Graf also said the course keeps running due to the collaboration between high school staff and volunteers from the Monaro District RFS who facilitate the course.

“NSW RFS members thoroughly enjoy working closely with schools and communities to ensure everyone is as well prepared as possible for the very real threat of fire,” he said. “Firefighters cannot do it alone.

“The service is proud to pass on the ideals of community service, dedication and teamwork to the next generation.”

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