Fire chief stays in state of readiness

Greg Pobar has been a firefighter for 30 years, he is still a volunteer
Greg Pobar has been a firefighter for 30 years, he is still a volunteer

As one of the City of Wanneroo’s four deputy chief bushfire control officers, Mr Pobar oversees about 150 volunteer firefighters, who have already been busy this season attending bushfires across the northern suburbs.

‘I started my career in conservation and land management in 1986 ” I was trained in firefighting then,’ he said.

‘I joined the bushfire service in 1996; that turned into FESA in 1999.

‘My original position up here was district officer in Perth north, which included all the bushfire brigades.’

Currently working as Perth Airport’s emergency planning manager, Mr Pobar said he left FESA (now the Department of Fire and Emergency Services) three years ago but became a volunteer.

‘I just came across to do volunteer work with the brigades I used to look after,’ he said.

‘I have a sense of community and used to always admire what volunteers did.’

Mr Pobar said the firefighters started planning for the bushfire season in the middle of the year, ensuring equipment was ready, checked and repaired, and that volunteers were trained.

‘Over Christmas and New Year, dozens of volunteers will be rostered. A large majority of our volunteers will be registered, crew the vehicles and turn out ” they will always be there when you need them,’ he said.

‘A lot of our volunteers, it is their employers that let them go ” if that didn’t happen, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.’

The father of two said his wife also accommodated his firefighting contribution.

‘Many a barbecue or party have I said ‘Sorry, but you will have to keep cooking, I’ve got to go’,’ he said.

‘Your family tolerates you doing it as well ” my children are grown up, that frees your time up a little bit.’

He said there were great teams in the five brigades, where everyone knew each other’s capabilities, and they were always recruiting more volunteers to work behind the scenes as much as at the fire front.

‘If you don’t want to fire fight, there are lots of other things to do,’ he said.

For more information about local brigades, see www.wanneroobfb.org.au.