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Michael the firefighter

In the end of the day, he makes sure we’re all ok. 

For Michael Hamersley, just living in a community isn’t enough. He wants to contribute to something bigger, to make a true difference. He found the perfect way to do it as a volunteer firefighter, and most recently he was fighting the devastating bush fires in Australia.

About 12 years ago on Boxing Day a large fire broke out not far from Michael’s house in Western Australia.

“Friends and family had gathered to celebrate Christmas and we were all pretty shook up about what was going on nearby. One of my friends suggested we should do something to help in situations like these in the future,” tells Michael.

That’s when the idea to join the fire and rescue service as a volunteer firefighter took shape.

“It’s just a two minutes’ drive for me to go to the station, which is convenient since I need to be off within five minutes when we’re called on. We help people in tricky situations, most of the time it’s a fire but it could also be a car crash or similar.”

This was really something for Michael, as he get to do good for the community he live in, for the people in his town.

“But we also go to other places in Australia, sometimes very far away. Just a few weeks ago I was part of fighting the widely spread bush fires in Western Australia. That’s something I’ll never forget,” says Michael.

His taskforce of 20 people was the second one to go in, with the mission to make sure the town they were trying to save from the fire stayed intact, and that the highway could be re-opened.

“This specific road is the only link between South Australia and Western Australia. People were stuck on both sides and needed to return home safely. We had to make sure that road could open up again.”

Michael and the rest of the task force spent 10-12 hours a day in the bush, in a temperature of 47 degrees Celsius.

“It was very hot and dry, but also windy. It burned easy and quickly, very hard conditions for us to work in. But the hardest thing of all was to see all the destruction. The wildlife, the infrastructure and losses of property. It was hard, but in another sense I know we stopped even more destruction.”

The firefighters managed to calm down the bush fires and re-open the crucial road in one week.

“It was a great feeling that we managed to make sure everyone was ok. We were a big team with people from all over Western Australia and together we got the job done.”

Doing what he is passionate about together with others is one of the things that motivates Michael the most.

“The mateship is amazing, it’s like I have another family at the fire station.”

When he is not heroically fighting bush fires, Michael leads a team of six service technicians in Perth, making sure that the customers are satisfied with their Getinge products.

“We look after sterilizers and washers mainly. It’s a great team and we have a lot of fun at work. At the same time we need to take quick and critical decisions to make sure no life’s are at risk. That is very similar to my volunteer work as a firefighter. In the end of the day, I just want to make sure everyone is ok”