ECU student and volunteer firefighter gets all aglow researching fire

Volunteer firefighter Struan Graham gets fired up when talk centres on blazes.
Picture: Matt Jelonek   d459215
Volunteer firefighter Struan Graham gets fired up when talk centres on blazes. Picture: Matt Jelonek d459215

VOLUNTEER firefighter Struan Graham has had a long-standing interest in fire prevention, and now hopes to learn more about people who light fires.

The ECU honours student is researching the WA public’s relationship with fire and why some people like to light fires, including campfires.

Mr Graham said the topic came naturally from his criminology and justice studies and his roles in Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade.

“Since I was young, I have always been interested in the fire services and fire prevention, which led me to join Quinns Rocks Bush Fire Cadets when I was 12,” he said.

“I then progressed from the cadets to Wanneroo Central brigade at 16, where I have been for the past five years.”

His current duties include recruitment, online administration and secretary.

“I also fulfil the community liaison officer role, which involves visiting schools, day cares and community groups in an effort to prevent juvenile fire-starting and to increase fire safety awareness,” he said.

“So far this fire season (since July), we have visited over 200 young people – teaching them about our role in the community, how to call 000 and of course not to play with matches or lighters.”

Mr Graham said he wanted to be the first person to specifically investigate fire interest levels in adults and study how those related to “fire-setting behaviours,” ranging from cooking over a campfire to the more malicious, illegal activities.

“As a result of this study, it is hoped that a greater understanding of how the WA public use fire is obtained and that strategies could be refined in order to better limit the loss of life, property damage and environmental destruction that occurs as a result of fires each year,” he said.

Three weeks into his data collection phase, Mr Graham said there had been a good response to his online survey so far but he wanted more people to do it.

“I am in need of more people to complete the study from around Western Australia in order to generate as close to a representative sample as possible,” he said.

“Individuals 18 years old or over, living anywhere in WA, are invited to take part in the research project.”

Do the survey here.


Volunteer wins at 2016 Firefighter Awards

459215p Fire Volunteers Award
City of Wanneroo’s fire protection officer Ricky Southgate, volunteer Richard Moon; Mayor Tracey Roberts and youth achievement winner of the 2016 Firefighter Awards Struan Graham.

STRUAN Graham (21) won the youth achievement award in the 2016 Firefighter Awards.

The Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade member and fellow volunteer Richard Moon (17), a member of the Quinns Rocks brigade, were two of three finalists in the youth achievement category.

Struan joined the Wanneroo Central Volunteer Bushfire Brigade at aged 16 and since that time he has taken on several roles within the brigade and organised a number of community events, including school visits and fire awareness presentations.

“We are so proud of Struan and it is wonderful to see his outstanding efforts publicly recognised,” City of Wanneroo Mayor Tracey Roberts said.

“All of the City of Wanneroo’s volunteer fire fighters work incredibly hard to protect the community, investing a great deal of time and energy into their roles.

“Their dedication and hard work is greatly appreciated.”