The job of a fire fighter is to fight fires.
In Australia, the Australian Firefighters Union has more than 800,000 members, but it’s not just for the fire fighters.
Many fire fighters are also the first responders to fire disasters.
They respond to emergencies on a regular basis and have no shortage of experience.
That’s why the union has developed a training curriculum that focuses on how to be a good fire fighter.
ABC Radio’s Kevin Barrett reports.
1:34 How to become a firefighter There are many reasons why people apply for a firefighting job.
They’re looking for an opportunity to become part of a bigger organisation, a career change or just an opportunity for a bit of fun.
“Some people think it’s fun, others think it might give them a sense of freedom,” says Paul Poynter.
He’s the president of the Australian firefighting union, which has more members than the Australian Defence Force.
“You get an opportunity in your career, a chance to do things differently, to be involved in a more meaningful way, and you get to meet some of the best fire fighters in the world.”
“I’ve been here for almost 30 years and I’ve never seen so many people from so many different backgrounds coming together,” says Mark Glynn.
He started working as a fire engine driver when he was 18.
“It’s been a dream of mine to work for the Australian Government and I’m really excited about it.”
Poynnter started his career as a mechanic at a Melbourne fire station, before eventually becoming a fire-fighting officer.
“I was just the average fireman in the fire department, but I’ve been working here ever since.”
He has been with the AFRU for 23 years.
He has also worked for the Royal Australian Navy, the New South Wales Fire Service and the New Zealand Fire Service.
Poynan says he enjoys the work and wants to continue his career.
“There’s nothing quite like the work that I’ve got to do,” he says.
“And it’s also a lot of fun.”
2:38 How to be an efficient fire fighter Paul Prynnter says being an efficient firefighter is very important to him.
He says firefighters need to know how to use the equipment and how to spot dangerous situations.
“If you’re not doing your job well, you’ll get injured and then you’ll go on to get a heart attack and die,” he said.
“The only way to stop this is to make sure that everybody is doing their job well.”
In the past, fire fighting was a lot like driving a car.
Prynan said there was a need for better training and equipment.
“When you have a lot and a lot more people, it’s a lot harder to catch a fire, especially with a high level of intensity,” he explained.
“So you need a lot better equipment and training.”
Prynter has seen first-hand the effect of inadequate training.
“We’ve got people with no experience or training, who are getting injured and dying,” he told Kevin Barrett.
“People that have never been to an emergency centre have a real fear of getting injured, and they’ve got no idea what they’re doing.”
So Poyner and his colleagues at the AFIU are developing a training programme that is focused on fire fighting.
Ptynnter and his colleague, Dave Ketchum, are also helping to train firefighters to respond to natural disasters, such as bushfires and floods.
They’ve created a course called the AFSJ Disaster Preparedness Course, which is designed to teach firefighters how to respond in a disaster.
“Our goal is to train the firefighters in their abilities to respond quickly, safely and effectively,” Ketchm said.
PYNNTS is also working with the National Fire Protection Association and the Australian Federal Police to train police officers to respond appropriately to fire emergencies.
Pypynts first response training course has been designed to prepare police officers for fire emergencies and to be ready for a natural disaster.
3:00 Firefighting lessons and tips How do fire fighters train?
Poyan says the lessons he has learned over the years have helped him to become an efficient and safe fire fighter, which will hopefully translate into a job that will last a lifetime.
“One of the things that we’re very conscious of is not giving up,” he tells Kevin Barrett from the AAFU.
“To be able to do what you love and do it as well as you can is really important to me.”
Ptynter said the lessons from his years with the fire service had been invaluable.
“They’ve helped me get a better understanding of the different roles that we have and how they interact,” he added.
“My colleagues have all been incredible, they’ve been fantastic mentors to me, and I really appreciate them.”
PYnnts first responder training is being taught in schools across the