NT student one of youngest to tackle NSW fires
Palmerston College student Jacob Brookhouse has spent nearly four years learning how to fight fires, but being deployed to New South Wales was a completely different experience.
The Howard Springs Volunteer Fire Brigade member put his hand up to help the NSW Rural Fire Service and was stationed at Nowra on the NSW south coast in the first week of January.
“When I was first notified that I was being sent to NSW to assist with the fires, I got excited because I knew I could do something to help,” he said.
“When I was flying down to NSW I was a little nervous as I didn’t know what to expect or what to prepare for, however the first day we were on the fire ground I had a great rush of adrenaline and I slowly adapted to the new environment.”
The Year 12 student drew on his experience as a NTPFES cadet and volunteer firefighter to assist with the relief effort, but said there was still a lot he learnt during his deployment.
“Some things that I learnt from my experience in NSW include understanding how the environment is different and how the fire behaves as NSW is made up of mountain ranges, large farms and paddocks, rainforests and a very large amount of pine forests.
“I got to learnt how the weather affects the fire. One day it went from 48 degrees down to 21 degrees being the top temperature for the next day.”
Jacob found out it’s not just about how fires behave, but people too.
“I learnt that the community comes together and works really well in a time of need as they always made way for emergency services.”
Jacob’s experience in NSW didn’t dampen his enthusiasm for firefighting. It’s a career that runs in his family, with plans to follow in father’s footsteps.
“Once I finish Year 12, I aim to complete an apprenticeship in carpentry to get a trade and aim to become a third-generation firefighter.”
Jacob said he was thrilled to be told he was the youngest firefighter from the NT to be deployed and urged other people to consider volunteering.
“It’s such a great thing to be a part of a volunteer brigade especially if you like helping people and the community,” he said.
“For people in Year 10 going into Year 11, it would be worth your while to look into the NTPFES cadet program as it is such a great opportunity.”