Airservices’ Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service welcomes 24 new recruits

Rachel Arnold, a new ARFFS recruit, shares her passion for the job.

Airservices Australia is building a stronger aviation industry for our customers and the community, recruiting 48 new aviation rescue fire fighters, with 24 in training now and a further 24 to join our Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service (ARFFS) later this year.

Airservices currently employs 759 aviation rescue fire fighters at 27 of Australia’s busiest airports. Another 72 fire fighters will join the service in 2023.

ARFFS is the only national fire service in the country – a rapid intervention function which engages within minutes of any incident, whether it be a first-aid call, fire alarm or an aircraft in trouble.

So, why join ARFFS? For Rachel Arnold, 41, from the Gold Coast (pictured) becoming an aviation rescue fire fighter recruit in Airservices’ 96th Recruit Course, was the realisation of a long-held dream.

A former regional flight attendant for 10 years, Rachel sought a new and exciting aviation career after having kids.

“When I was a flight attendant flying around in the little Saab 340 aircraft in Adelaide, I looked out the window one day and saw ARFFS doing their drills – and from that day on – I decided I was sitting in the wrong seat. I did my research and found out that this career has so much more to offer than the everyday job,” Rachel said.

Now, Rachel’s ecstatic to be eight weeks’ along in her training.

“I couldn’t leave aviation – it’s in my blood,” she said. “I just love everything about the aviation industry – I enjoy seeing people come and go at airports and the happiness this brings. I love flying and the sound of aircraft – it’s incredible.

“I’m finding my ARFFS training incredibly challenging, but rewarding at the same time. I’m so excited to be in this course. I feel so proud waking up every morning and putting on the ARFFS uniform. 

“I’ve always wanted to do this – I’m so stoked to be here.”

Each 15-week ARFFS recruit course requires trainees to obtain their Heavy Rigid Licence (truck), undergo a medical and complete a range of theory and practical rescue and fire fighting rotations.

Recruits learn about the theory about fire and hazard identification and how to use fire fighting equipment such as hoses and branches, breathing apparatus, personal protective equipment and more.

Airservices Aerodrome Head Chief Fire Officer Rob Purcell said he was hugely proud of the new recruits’ efforts.

“Our ARFFS team plays a vital community role as aviation rescue fire fighting first-responders, operating a fleet of more than 100 of the largest fire-fighting vehicles in the country. We are always on stand-by to rescue people from an aircraft crash or fire and other fires and emergencies at airports,” Rob said.

“These 96th Recruit Course trainees are busily learning the ropes and we wholeheartedly welcome them to the service, encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.

“Airservices Australia is proud of its record in delivering safe, secure, efficient, and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry and community.”

If you’re interested in becoming an ARFFS recruit, apply here.

Posted on: May 20, 2022

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