Firefighter follows in family's footsteps

New recruit: Sally Andrews. Picture: Simon Bennett
New recruit: Sally Andrews. Picture: Simon Bennett

For those wondering, firefighters - like their police counterparts - also throw their hats into the air after graduation.

It's powered by a mix of relief and pride according to new Cabramatta fire station recruit Sally Andrews.

"It's such a proud moment...a happy moment," she told the Champion on her first full 24-hour shift on Monday.

"It's a full-on 14-weeks at the academy so it's very satisfying to graduate. The training is very intense - the theory and the practical. It is physically challenging and I have never pushed myself that hard."

A chance to get out of her comfort was one of the main reasons behind her decision to become a firefighter.

The other two reasons were siblings and fellow firefighters Bryan and Amy.

"When they got in, they loved it so much and they were a big encouragement for me to apply," she said.

Sally Andrews at Cabramatta Fire Station. Picture: Simon Bennett

Sally Andrews at Cabramatta Fire Station. Picture: Simon Bennett

"When I finished school I was a beauty therapist and then I worked in childcare but they could see I wasn't being fulfilled in my job as they were. They loved their crews and jobs and working with the community."

The Picnic Point resident said she was looking forward to her "diverse" role including a lot of the behind-the-scenes work people don't see like maintaining the equipment on the truck.

Fairfield received two news recruits from the graduating class on Friday - the first to graduate from the new Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills. Anne O'Toole has also joined the firefighting family at Smithfield.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the graduates have been trained to be "prepared for anything."

"These recruits have shown they have the diverse skills, capabilities and talents required to undertake the varied work that our firefighters do - from educating the community about fire safety and providing emergency medical care to responding to natural disasters and hazmat incidents," he said.

Emergency Services minister David Elliot said the new recruits have signed up for one of the "most demanding and important roles" in the community.

"They have proven themselves able to meet the many challenges of the job over months of intense training, from firefighting and road-crash rescue, to advanced first aid and hazardous materials response," he said.