Fire fighter profile: Brendan Siinmaa
Brendan started out as a CFA volunteer in 2002. Although he loved volunteer work, he harboured dreams of becoming a career fire fighter because he knew they were there for people in need. Eventually, Brendan's his dream came true - and in 2008 he became a career fire fighter with the CFA and in February this year was seconded to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade.
Brendan loves his job because no two days are the same. One day could see him responding to a major emergency, and the next he could be in a school classroom, teaching a group of students about fire safety.
One of Brendan's fondest memories was when he got a glimpse of the true value of his help. He'd received a call from a woman whose husband had suffered a cardiac arrest. One of the first on the scene, Brendan performed CPR until emergency medical help arrived. One of the hardest things for fire fighters is that they often never find out the outcome of those they help in medical emergencies. In this case, Brendan was fearful the man had not survived. He was thrilled when he later received a phone call, and the victim himself delivered the good news: he was alive and well.
Having been both a volunteer and career fire fighter, Brendan has an insightful perspective on the outdated fire services.
“It’s pretty evident in expanding suburbs that resources are not keeping up with demand. Areas that are considered country are now huge geographical areas,” Brendan said.
“The expansion of boundaries is as needed in Melbourne as public transport and infrastructure is in a growing suburb.”
As CFA fire fighter, the minimum staffing for career fire fighting crews was 3 to be called to a fire. Brendan recalls that often when they were called out to a fire, they would have to wait 10 to 15 minutes for a second volunteer crew to arrive. Although Brendan deeply values the work of volunteers, he thinks the outdated fire services are well overdue for a change, so that all residents in busy urban areas have the firefighting protection they need.