Former police officer gets fired up for job

Newly graduated firefighter Matthew Airey (middle) with his mother Beverly Bennett-Airey and father Stephen who is a retained firefighter.

ONE of sixteen firefighters to graduate on Friday, Matthew Airey will start his firefighting career at the Lakemba Fire Station from this week.

The 26-year-old was a police officer for three years before applying to be a firefighter and his graduating class also included an army officer, a mathematician, a beauty therapist and an electrician.

They were also the first to complete their training at the new Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Emergency Services Academy at Orchard Hills which replaced the FRNSW State Training College at Alexandria.

The new six-hectare state-of-the-art facility opened last year and will include a range of purpose-built training props to simulate fire, rescue, hazardous material handling and other emergency situations.

FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the graduates were a fitting first class for the new Academy. 

“These recruits have shown they have the diverse skills, capabilities and talents required to undertake the varied work that our firefighters do – from educating the community about fire safety and providing emergency medical care to responding to natural disasters and hazmat incidents,” he said.

Minister for Emergency Services, David Elliot also congratulated the recruits and welcomed them into the firefighting family.

“They are a special group of men and women and the first of a new generation of firefighters to start their journey and hone their lifesaving skills at the FRNSW Emergency Services Academy,” Mr Elliot said.