New CFA recruit Nick Gardener didn’t have to wait long to fight his first fire.
The newest member of Greenvale CFA’s team started at the station on Christmas Eve and found himself at his first fire just one day later.
While the new firefighter and his team were not required to do much at the house fire, he said his adrenaline was pumping by the time he arrived at the scene.
Mr Gardener is one of 81 new firefighters who joined the CFA in December after completing a 20-week training course.
The Craigieburn, Sunbury and South Morang brigades were among those to welcome the graduates.
A further 40 new recruits joined the MFB.
Mr Gardener said the rigorous training program included a mix of theory and drills covering topics such as hot fire training, responding to rescues and the management of hazardous materials.
He said his previous army training had helped him through the course, especially when it came to working in small teams.
Mr Gardener said he decided to pursue a career in firefighting after 15 years in the army because he wanted his family to settle in Victoria.
“I have a son and I wanted to follow a different career path for him,” he said. “Basically, in the army, you have to move around every three years.
“Coming into this job, I still get to work in a small team and I am still serving as well, which I enjoyed in the army.”
CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said the recruits completed a new course designed to provide CFA and MFB firefighters with the same skills and knowledge.
“The recruits have completed a rigorous program that gives them the ideal preparation to fulfil their critical duty of protecting lives and property,” he said.
“They are also well-prepared to engage and work with the communities they serve – an equally important skill.”