Local focus on recruitment of fireys as positions open

Alicia PereraPilbara News

Karratha residents keen to work as firefighters attended a weekend come-and-try day as part of an emergency services company’s drive to recruit locally rather than fly-in, fly-out workers.

Airservices Australia, which co-ordinates aviation rescue firefighting at the Karratha and Port Hedland airports, is calling on residents to apply for two new residential positions in Karratha and four in Hedland in response to the Pilbara’s normalising economy.

Candidates saw if they had what it takes at a have-a-go session at Dampier’s Hampton Oval on Sunday morning, where they were put through firefighting physical tests by a team of Perth fitness instructors.

Karratha Airport operations manager for aviation rescue and firefighting Ross Eiffler said firefighters at the two main Pilbara stations had been hired as FIFO workers when it was cost-effective during the mining boom, but times had changed.

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“We will be recruiting locally more and more. There’ll be a full changeover from fly-in, fly-out,” he said.

“The cost-saving is huge.”

In WA Airservices Australia supplies aviation rescue firefighters at Karratha, Port Hedland, Newman and Broome Airports, with its Broome station made up of local recruits.

Staff are also trained to handle first aid calls, fuel spills and fire alarms around the airport.

Mr Eiffler said a locally staffed station would also mean more employees, better working conditions and more opportunities to assist the town’s emergency service volunteers.

“We can’t do too much community activity and community help with firefighting at the moment, whereas in a place like Broome, they have local staffing and a lot of their staff belong to the fire and rescue crews,” he said.

“They can then assist with firefighting. So you have a lot more contingency with handling the local staffing and being able to assist locally.”

For more information or to apply for the new positions, go to airservicesaustralia.com.

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