Tell us about your background and how you started working with Wormald.
I have been in the fire protection industry my whole working life, since finishing high school. It started with an electrical apprenticeship in fire alarms, mainly doing system installations and upgrades with O’Donnell Griffin electrical engineering which was owned by Tyco at the time. After completing the 4-year apprenticeship, I worked with a few different organisations, gaining fire service and maintenance experience with customers in retail and large industrial businesses, before returning to Tyco within the Wormald business in 2010. I’m also a volunteer firefighter with the NSW Rural Fire Service.
Explain your current role and responsibilities
As Fire Alarm Technician, I work across our Dubbo and Broken Hill branches and the area I cover extends out to Forbes, up to Lightning Ridge and out to Broken Hill. I work with a team of six, helping our customers to ensure the fire safety measures they have on-site meet required compliance with the BCA (Building Code of Australia) and Australian Standards. For some customers this might also include fire safety, awareness, warden and extinguisher training.
When I joined Wormald in 2010, I was based in the NSW Hunter Valley doing service and installation of fire detection and control systems, primarily in the mining industry. Since moving to Dubbo four years ago, I’ve been working more with commercial and industrial customers but also some mining.
What does a typical day look like for you?
There is no typical day! I could be in a nursing home, a shopping centre or a remote mine site. Recently I was at a large sheep station located 100km out of Broken Hill which was unusual. Some days are spent mainly on the road, up to four hours of driving out to one site to complete the required job, and then spending a few more hours travelling onto the next site.
Broken Hill is quite different to the other areas in our region because I usually spend a week there and do everything from system testing to equipment repairs for a range of customers including solar farms, mine sites, as well as commercial offices and shopping centres.
I also service automatic fire suppression systems for a mineral sand mine which is west of Pooncarrie and about 250km south of Broken Hill, where you can only access the plant from floating walkways. I usually spend a day or two on site staying at the mine camp.
A couple of months ago I was coming home from the mine site and needed to complete a call-out at the hospital in Bourke. The most direct way to get there was via the Darling River Run between Pooncarrie and Bourke, via Wilcannia, which is eight hours of dirt track driving. It’s actually a road I’ve always wanted to do in my 4WD but have ended up driving it in the work ute – twice!
What do you enjoy about working at Wormald?
I enjoy the variety and travel – getting to see different regions and sites. I spent some time in a service manager role, managing a team of electrical, portable and sprinkler technicians as well as sub-contractors, but it wasn’t long before I missed being on the road, and the face to face interaction with customers.
What do you find most interesting about the fire protection industry?
I’m interested in the uses of advanced detection technology to improve work site safety. Often customers in the mining industry are quicker to embrace new systems once they understand the benefits and advantages, because they are very focused on service delivery and will proactively take steps to avoid anything that puts production at risk.
What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
When it comes to accepting technology advances, there is a mixed response from customers in regional areas. Part of the challenge is helping people to keep up to date with current standards, and how they apply to their site. There is still some lack of understanding of the rules and regulations that impact the fire protection industry, and some people don’t realise that just because something works, it doesn’t mean it’s done the right way.
What trends or issues are you seeing in the fire industry today?
With the new requirements in NSW around competent fire safety practitioners to complete annual fire safety statement assessments, customers are starting to see the importance of getting the right people in from the start.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I’ve been living in Dubbo for 4 years after spending 12 years in the Hunter Valley region. I really enjoy the lifestyle, it’s quiet – central to everything but close to nothing. Outside of work, I still love travelling, and take the family out bush. We go camping as often as we can, there are always plenty of new places to find. I’m involved with a local 4WD club and have been with the volunteer fire brigade for 20 years but with three kids aged between 9 months to 4 years, I don’t always have the time.