Victoria is fire-ready this bushfire season. FFMVic has recruited and trained more than 600 project firefighters (PFF) who are now ready for action.

Hannah Gabsch standing in front of a G-Wagon

Hannah Gabsch is one of these new PFFs.

Now based at Forest Fire Management Victoria’s (FFMVic) Sebastopol depot, Hannah is passionate about the emergency services sector.

‘I have worked and volunteered in the emergency services sector for several years now and I really enjoy being able to help others,’ Hannah said.

“I saw becoming a PFF as a great opportunity for myself to learn new skills, which even in the few months since I started, I can say I have already achieved that, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon.’

Before becoming a PFF, Hannah had worked for 5 years with Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) where her primary role was as a fire dispatcher.

‘As a fire dispatcher I was responsible for managing fire brigade resources around regional Victoria,’ Hannah said.

‘That role gave me a good understanding of fire and emergency management, however I felt like I wanted to do something more hands-on while I am young and able.’

‘I had been aware the job existed for a few years now but never seriously considered doing it, thinking I wouldn’t be suitable.

‘However, after seeing the advertising online for the position last year I made a conscious effort to reach out to others already in the job to get a better understanding of the role. That really helped.

‘I also found the FFMVic website had heaps of really handy, in-depth information and that’s also where I registered my interest for the role, receiving an email once applications were open.’

Hannah has really enjoyed meeting and working with crews at the Sebastopol depot.

“Everyone has clearly come from various backgrounds and have different experience levels that bring a unique set of skills and knowledge to learn from.

Hannah enjoys four-wheel driving in her spare time so a highlight of the PFF training was the G-wagon/complex 4x4 course.

‘I found the information in the course very intriguing and learnt a lot and I have already put the tips and tricks into practice in my own personal life and when I’m driving the work vehicles out on the tracks’, Hannah said.

For Hannah and the 2021 PFF intake, training also involved online training on topics like asbestos awareness, and a week of face-to face training at the General Fire Fighter camp.

‘The camp was a big but interesting week where we learnt about bushfire behaviour, use of hand tools and firefighting strategies,’ Hannah said.

Since completing training, Hannah has been involved in recreational site maintenance which has involved tasks such as brush cutting, tidying up sites and repairing damaged signage as well as track clearing after the recent storms and preparing sites for upcoming burns.

‘I’m learning new things every day and each and every colleague I work with has been incredibly open and willing to give up their time to help the new staff learn,’ Hannah said.

To register your interest in becoming a project firefighter for the 2022/23 season visit the Firefighting and Employment page.