Northern suburbs: Three new firefighters begin duty


Graduate firefighter Katrina Birch, from Alkimos.
Graduate firefighter Katrina Birch, from Alkimos.

THREE northern suburbs fire stations have gained their newest recruits.

Katrina Birch, of Alkimos, Heathridge’s David James and Jason Whitwell, of Joondalup, graduated from the WA Fire and Emergency Services Academy this month.

The trio were among 24 firefighters who developed their skills in firefighting, road crash rescue, hazardous materials, urban search and rescue and community safety during the 18-week course.

Ms Birch, who will be posted at Duncraig Fire Station, said her previous work in an emergency response team on a mine site inspired the career change.

“I wanted to have a career that helps support the community, where I am constantly challenged physically and mentally and get to work with people who motivate and support each other,” she said.

She described the course as “extremely challenging” and was looking forward to being able to give back to the community, the mental and physical challenges and continual personal and professional development.

Mr Whitwell will join the team at Wangara Fire Station, while Butler Fire Station will welcome Mr James, who previously worked in the government sector and said he had always admired firefighters.

“I think I have the same goals as any firefighter, which is to help people when they are in need,” he said.

“This isn’t only in an emergency situation but also with charity and fundraising events.

“The role offers a large number of ways we can positively assist the community.”

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson wished the graduates a safe and fulfilling career and said their jobs would not be easy.

“They will regularly see and experience things that will test their resolve,” he said.

“To be here ready to take on that challenge requires a great deal of compassion and commitment.”

Mr Gregson said 287 train-ees had graduated from the academy in the past six years.