Firefighting was “always something I wanted to get involved with”, according to 511 Yass Fire Station Engine Keeper and Firefighter Ben Bowman.
Ben began with the Yass Fire Station in early 2018 and was propelled swiftly towards further development.
“When I joined, I started off as a firey, 4 months later, we had a few of the older boys retire, and we had a shortage of rescue operators.”
“Immediately, I’m being trained up in rescue operation, which usually doesn’t get taught until further down the track,” he said.
Ben thanked his team for their support as he learnt on the job and spoke to the family-like community at the fire station.
“I was lucky to always have the support of everyone around me, the fire brigade is particularly good at that, especially with mental health.”
‘It’s not just about being a firey; it’s about being a part of that family and having each other’s backs.”
“We’re a tight-knit family,” he said.
Ben was the manager of a club for over 10 years with Gungahlin Lakes and Ainslie Football Club, and pre-Covid was managing his firefighting duties around a 7-day rotating roster typical of the hospitality industry.
Post-Covid, Ben runs a pop-up cafe business called “Hitched” with fellow firefighter and Deputy Captain at the 511 Fire Station Nick Whiting, has a full-time job in environmental science and has moved to casual employment managing the club.
Without a background in environmental science, Ben’s experience with hazardous materials with the fire department gave him the expertise for the role, an example of how skills learnt as a firefighter can aid your pursuit of other employment.
The most rewarding part of firefighting for Ben is supporting the community when they need it most.
“We help people in their darkest hour and in some of the hardest times of their life.”
“To be able to help those people in that time gives you plenty of pleasure,” he said.
Ben’s most memorable moment was the first house fire he attended. At that moment, he knew firefighting was something he wanted to do for a long time.
“I remember pulling up to my first house fire and seeing a house fully engulfed with flames; it’s a pretty incredible experience to be a part of the team that is responsible for putting the fire out.”
“That moment made it for me, and I decided I was never turning back,” he said.
The positions advertised are open to both men and women, with the 511 Station looking to add people with diverse skill sets and backgrounds regardless of gender.
“We have a few girls working with us at the moment.”
“It’d certainly be exciting to get some more women into the workforce.”
“It’s good to have people with different experiences and different skill sets to help bring it all together,” he said.
If you are interested in joining Ben and the team or seeking further information are welcome to contact Yass Fire Station on 6226 1058 or via the 511 Yass Facebook page.