Rocky business shows support for its volunteer firies
FORKLIFT operator and The Caves Rural Fire Brigade volunteer firefighter of 19 years, Brad Kingston, was one of eight Hastings Deering Rockhampton employees to give up their annual leave to help battle the Capricorn Coast fires last month.
Last week, Hastings Deering announced that all of its employees who spent their leave fighting fires would have their time re-credited.
“It’s a great thing and it is a great achievement for us,” Mr Kingston said.
“It just shows the commitment of Hastings and that they’re getting behind the volunteer firefighters, which is pretty incredible.
“When you see a big business trying to help out, it’s going to make it all a better environment.”
Last Friday, Mr Kingston presented Hastings service manager Les Schneider with a certificate on behalf of the business’ volunteer firefighters, as a token of their appreciation.
“We just wanted to let them know that it’s appreciated and actually shows that they do care,” Mr Kingston said.
“Once employers see the actual details of what actually happens, it makes a big difference.
“It would be great to see other businesses, even some small businesses (do the same).”
Throughout the eight days Mr Kingston helped battle the blazes around the region, he experienced tough conditions and taxing days.
The volunteers were first deployed at the fires at Cobraball and then moved straight into air base operations.
“It was really difficult to control. It was fast and the heat didn’t help us,” he said.
“We had high winds, high humidity and it pushed really quickly and it’s what we probably class as an uncontrollable fire for the first day.
“We had to dig a little deeper and put in 16-20-hour days and just try and comprehend what was going to go wrong the next day, which was hard.
“Putting a plan in place was the hardest part.”
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services acting inspector and area director Craig Adams said the announcement of the re-credited leave was a great way to take some of the burden off the company’s volunteer firefighters.
“Leave is a time where you get to spend some vacation time with your family and friends on the beach or taking holidays,” Mr Adams said.
“For the employer to re-credit the leave is very touching to the employees and is also supported by Commissioner Greg Leach.
“We do acknowledge and appreciate it and look forward to having a good working relationship with Hastings Deering and its employees.”