The training program includes everything from studying FFMVic and Parks Victoria policies and procedures to heading out into the field to learn how to use the various tools such as chain saws and rake hoes needed to put out fires to four-wheel drive training.
Lil Waters is just one of the new project firefighter (PFF) recruits who have joined FFMVic’s more than 1000 strong firefighting force.
An outdoor education teacher by trade, Lil said that having grown up in Australia and spending a lot of time out in the bush she wanted to get first-hand experience to take back into the classroom.
‘I studied outdoor education at university, and since then I have been teaching in schools,’ Lil said.
‘I was teaching a lot about the theory of land management, and I thought it was about time I went out and got some practical experience about these things I was teaching.’
‘The role will allow me to study the environment and how it reacts to bushfires and how our fauna has developed because of bushfires over hundreds of thousands of years.
‘I really wanted to get first-hand so I can share with my students when I go back into the classroom.’
Lil has just finished her initial training.
‘I really enjoyed getting to know the other new recruits and finding out where they came from, the careers they have had before, and why they became a PFF,’ Lil said.
‘I was surprised by the range of people in this uptake of PFFs; I thought it would be a lot of younger people fresh out of school or university, but a lot of people have had interesting careers before coming here.
‘It was also great getting to know the trainers as well, and the sort of fires they have been involved in previously.’
Once the PFFs have successfully completed training the new recruits work alongside current staff, where they will continue with on-the-job learning while completing bushfire preparedness and response work.
‘I am really grateful to have this PFF role because when we have bushfire incidents it will mean I will be able to be out there on the front line, protecting our community and protecting our environment,’ Lil said.
Lil summed up her experiences as a PFF so far by saying, ‘I am really keen to get back to the depot and start.’
To register your interest in becoming a project firefighter for the 2022/23 season visit the Firefighting and EmploymentFirefighting and Employment page.
Watch Lil Waters talk about learning the ropes of becoming a project firefighter.
Page last updated: 17/12/21