WE WANT YOU: Father and son firefighting duo’s push for recruits
AFTER witnessing his dad battle fires across the southwest for 13 years, Matthew Kucks knew once he turned 18, he wanted to be a firefighter.
Lieutenant David Kucks remembers the Anzac Day inferno at Dalby State School in 2017, where he and his son were among the first responders to the blaze.
"Matty was around back on the hose as we were one of the first trucks to arrive," he said.
"Once the job settled down a bit I went around the back to check up on everyone, to make sure everything was going to plan, and Matty was with one of our experienced firefighters, Wolfgang Gash."
Lt Kucks came around to assess his crew at the back of the structure fire, and asked Matt to watch out for several hazards.
"I was doing it for everyone, but Wolfgang turned around to me and said 'it's all right dad, I'll look after him'," he said.
"You're looking after everyone on the fire grounds, but it can be different when you have one of your own out there."
Matt is now coming up on his 5th year as a firefighter, with him and his dad now appealing to the community to consider a role in the auxiliary fire service.
"The organisation is always looking for people who are ready to challenge themselves, and want to support and help their community," Lt Kucks said.
"People are very mobile in this day and age, so some of the smaller communities have had some difficult recruiting and retaining people in their area.
"It is pleasing to see in recent times a lot of people have stepped up.
"Across area three we already have a number of recruits ready to join, but due to the nature of COVID-19, those processes haven't been going as quickly as we had hoped."
Matt's journey to become a qualified firefighter was extensive, but necessary in order for him to have the skills to deal with anything he would encounter.
How to become a firefighter
NINE initial skills need to be learnt before firefighters can apply for basic training, which then takes place over four weekends.
Once completed, volunteers have an obligation to attain a truck licence, as well as completing several courses in pump operation, hazmat rescue, road crash rescue, gas detection, and thermal imaging, just to name a few.
All of this is then combined with weekly training sessions held at the station.
For the most part, Matt has enjoyed working with his dad, saying it was weird at one point when they were both turning out in the middle of the night to attend jobs.
"With some of the bigger structure fires we'd be talking as we're going, figuring out where the hydrants were, and where we'd be placing the trucks," he said.
"We'd have a plan in place."
Like every family, there was some trepidation in Matt volunteering with the auxiliary fire service.
"His mother had some worries, due to the fact 60 per cent of our jobs are traffic crash rescues," Lt Kucks said.
"Some of the crashes we go to are confronting at times, but it's part of the job.
"He's done what he needs to for his role, along with all of our other firefighters.
"Everyone knows their place, and their duty, which allows us to operate successfully."
If you're looking to apply to become an auxiliary firefighter, please head here.