26-year-old Aimee Barnard was enjoying a successful career as a school teacher before she decided to take a massive leap and become a firefighter.
The former PDHPE teacher is one of 16 new firefighters in the first class to graduate from the new Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills.
“I had a few friends that were already in the job and they would always talk about how much they loved being a firefighter. I was always interested in what they did so I thought that it would be a career I would really enjoy,” Ms Barnard said.
“The training experience was a very big learning curve, but I really enjoyed the variety of training experiences we were exposed to. Basically, every week had a new focus on a different capability of our organisation.”
Ms Barnard is now stationed at Cranebrook Fire Station and is enjoying the variety in her job.
“I have enjoyed every minute at Cranebrook so far and every day you learn something new,” Ms Barnard said.
“Our station was involved in a sprinkler demonstration which was covered on national news. It was a real success and great to see how the sprinkler system can potentially slow down the fire development and essentially save lives.”
She is now part of an important group of people who help the community.
“I think knowing that you can help someone is an extremely rewarding feeling and therefore one of the main reasons I was interested in joining FRNSW,” Ms Barnard said.
“It’s important that the community have their own local fire station to call upon whenever they need.”
Minister for Emergency Services, David Elliot congratulated the recruits and welcomed them into the firefighting family.
“They are a special group of men and women and the first of a new generation of firefighters to start their journey and hone their lifesaving skills at the FRNSW Emergency Services Academy,” Mr Elliott said.
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the graduates were a fitting first class for the new Academy.
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers community news and entertainment for the Western Weekender.