New firefighters join TFS ranks

TASMANIA’S firefighting ranks have been bolstered on the eve of the summer bushfire season with eight graduates taking up their posts around the state.

Aged between 22 and 40-years and coming from a diverse range of career backgrounds, the graduates completed their 15-week training course in late October.

Representing the Police, Fire and Emergency Management Minister at the graduation ceremony, Speaker of the House of Assembly and Liberal Member for Denison, Elise Archer, paid tribute to the newest frontline firefighters.

“Tasmanian communities rely on our hardworking firefighters to protect them in times of need,” Ms Archer said.

“These eight graduates will play a key role in working alongside the 300 career and 4800 volunteer firefighters who protect and serve communities across Tasmania.”

The bushfire outlook for this summer is considered “normal”, but the Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) said this does not mean low risk.

It warned that bushfires would still occur and encouraged residents to prepare their properties.

TFS chief officer Chris Arnol said the new recruits were well prepared.

“The recruits are now on-station and ready to respond to call outs for all types of incidents,” he said.

“Our recruit training is designed to equip our latest firefighters with a diverse range of skillsets and the knowledge they need to deliver the range of services TFS provides the Tasmanian community.”

Speaking at the graduation, dux of the course, Anthony Cowles, paid tribute to the families of firefighters.

“I set my mind to joining the TFS after the 2013 Dunalley fires came close to claiming my family’s home at Connellys Marsh,” Mr Cowles said.

“The house was thankfully saved by my father and my family escaped unharmed, but the impact on the community was immeasurable and it stirred something in me to be part of that response.”

Six firefighters will be based in Hobart while the remaining two will take up positions in Burnie and Devonport.

Caption: From left, Speaker of the House of Assembly and Liberal Member for Denison, Elise Archer, Tasmania Fire Service chief officer Chris Arnol and dux of the 2016 recruit course, Anthony Cowles.

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