“Good morning Ma’am/Sir”

“Thank you for the opportunity Ma’am/Sir”

“Hope you have an enjoyable afternoon Ma’am /Sir”

Did I hear right? Ma’am and Sir!  These two words are uncommon titles and definitely foreign to my ears yet it was how Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) candidates demonstrate respect.

Fire and Rescue NSW

For a couple of years now I have sat as a community panel member for the NSW Permanent Firefighters interviews.  What a privilege to be part of their interview process.

Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) is one of the world’s largest urban fire and rescue services and is the busiest in Australia. Their overriding purpose is to enhance community safety, quality of life and confidence by minimising the impact of hazards and emergency incidents on the people, property, and environment within NSW.

Did you know their capabilities extend far beyond fighting fires?

FRNSW firefighters are among the most highly trained in the world. The firefighting teams provide fire prevention, they respond to hazardous materials incidents, natural disasters and medical emergencies.

As well they also undertake counter terrorism and urban search and rescue operations. Fire does not discriminate.

Fire and Rescue NSW proudly stand by their mantra “We are prepared for anything – helping anyone, anywhere, anytime.”

Not only does Fires and Rescue NSW play an important role in educating and protecting the community, but they are also committed to creating a diverse, inclusive and flexible workforce which reflects the community they serve.

Ironically, I suspect many candidates may respond better to a fire-fighting emergency than to high-intensity negative emotions of an interview.  While only a few regurgitated rehearsed answers, highly not recommended, others were openly forthcoming in their response and highlighted Fire and Rescue vison, purpose, and guiding values; Respect, Integrity, Service and Courage.

Interestingly, if I were to receive a gold coin for every time a candidate referenced ‘Muslims’ and ‘Ramadan’ in their interview response to respecting people of difference, I would be a rich woman today.

Did they struggle to push past the hijab? Putting aside their diverse skills, capabilities and talents we could blame nerves as a culprit. Some missed the mark regarding inclusion and diversity.

Whatever the case, the firefighters had proven themselves able to meet the many challenges of the job – from firefighting and road-crash rescue to fire science and hazardous materials response.

I look forward to witnessing yet another spectacular recruit firefighter Graduation and Ceremonial Day.

Last year’s recruits included ex-infantry soldier, a representative gymnast and other professions and non-professionals.  The officers wore winter dress uniform with galatea, medals, peak cap and tie and the event closed on a high with hats flying in the air.

I recommend you keep your eye open at iworkfornsw.gov.au or www.fire.nsw.gov.au for firefighter recruitment opportunities.

Earmark Fire and Rescue NSW as the best place to work.