THREE residents from the eastern suburbs have completed career changes to become firefighters and are hoping to give back to the community.
Bassendean resident Paulo Eraclides, Bayswater resident Richard Cerna and Alec Kickett of Lockridge graduated from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ (DFES) 18-week recruitment program on August 4.
Mr Eraclides, who was posted to Kiara Fire Station’s D Platoon, said he previously worked in furnishing removals.
“About four years ago, I conceived the idea and then I first put my application in 2015 before doing a bit more testing in 2016 and graduating in 2017,” he said.
“The guys at Kiara are mentoring me a lot and are showing me the ropes.”
Mr Cerna, who was posted to Wangara D Platoon, said he was a mechanic before pursing a career in firefighting.
“It is something that a lot of people strive for a very long time,” he said.
“For me, it was my second application and I probably would say I am one of the more lucky ones because before the program, everyone tells you that it will take about three years to apply.
“(DFES) value the mental health and physical health of its employees and I just found that in a lot of industries, that is not much of a priority.
“There is a public perception of going to house fires and all that, car crash rescues…I am obviously looking forward to that.”
Outgoing Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson said 263 trainees in 11 schools have joined the WA firefighting family in the last six years.