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Melissa MacFarlane

from Carnival Worker to Senior Firefighter
Responding to incidents when someone calls 000.
Industry
Defence and Public Safety
Company
Queensland Fire Department (QFD)
Job Level
Senior
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Ask me about

  • How past roles prepared me for my career
  • What is involved in training to be a Firefighter

About me

  • Regional Background

Throughout school I was always that ‘arts’ student, enjoying music studies and performing arts. I could be found in a musical theatre rehearsal or a music room, loving the challenge of different roles and learning different instruments.

All through school, and right up until I joined the fire service in 2016, I worked for a company called ABC Fun Rides, as a ‘carnie’ working all the show rides around Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast.

After graduation, I went straight into the work force for EB Games, re-developing how they shipped their marketing materials around Australia and New Zealand. That was, until I found myself back at university, studying a pop music and performance degree. During this period I worked full time for Officeworks in the Print and Copy section, enjoying the differences of problem solving individual printing jobs for customers.

Eventually I found this to be less and less challenging and decided it was time for a huge change and applied for Defence Force, Police Force and QFES.

QFES came through first and in 6 years I have never once looked back. With my experience and training, I now have the opportunity to be the Acting Station Officer. This role involves being the person who makes the decision on how we put the fire out, or rescue those people and animals.

About my role

  • Calm
  • Creative
  • Curious
  • Humorous
  • Imaginative
  • Independent

This role is effectively the same as any other Firefighter, with the added training and responsibility to act in charge as the officer (the boss!) on a truck when required.

The role of a Firefighter involves responding to anything where someone might need help.

This could be a fire, a car accident, someone having fallen and needs help getting out of something, or up a mountain, getting a finger, or hand/arm stuck somewhere, and we cut them out. Ducklings stuck down a storm drain, or even cats up a tree! There are difficult days, dealing with confronting scenes, however the department is like a family and we always have each other's back.

Each position on the truck has a job role: The Officer is the boss; the Driver also operates the pump (where we get the water from on the truck) and provides all the hoses and tools we need. In the back seat, the Firefighters will be doing the work required such as putting out fires, or climbing down drains to rescue animals, cutting up the cars.

Our roles are not limited. If someone needs help, we will put our heads together and find a way to fix that problem or at least make it safe.

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Education

  • QLD Senior Certificate
  • Diploma of Pop Music and Performance
  • Cert 4 Emergency Management

Subjects

  • Drama
  • Music
  • Performing Arts

Awards

  • Excellent Service - Officeworks
  • Brown Belt – Shudokai Jujutsu
  • Exemplary Support 2019 Townsville Floods

Hobbies

  • Camping
  • Cooking
  • Gym
  • Paddle boarding

Pets

  • 2 Dog

15 year old me!!

“Explore more, you have more ability than you will ever realise if you just look outside the box.”

My career journey

Curious to know how I got here? Here’s a snapshot of my career pathway.
  1. First job as a travelling Carnie at shows
  2. Re-developed how EB games shipped marketing materials
  3. Started studying a Pop Music and Performance diploma
  4. Worked at Officeworks in the Print and Copy section while studying
  5. Accepted into QFES and now branching into specialist roles

My employer

Queensland Fire Department (QFD) is the primary provider of fire and rescue, emergency management, and disaster mitigation programs and services throughout Queensland. They deliver this through our Fire and Rescue Service (FRS), Rural Fire Service (RFS) and State Emergency Service (SES).  As part of the Queensland Government, we are committed to building a diverse workforce that represents the community we serve.