DISTRICT 17 operations manager Trevor Ebbles has celebrated a career milestone, racking up 40 years with the Country Fire Authority.
Mr Ebbles first joined the authority at 18, after two years as a volunteer firefighter.
“I chose to stay for 40 years because I love it,” he said.
“If I didn’t, I’d do something else. I reckon I knew when I started it would be long term – perhaps not this long though.”
Mr Ebbles said when he started, he was one of the youngest recruits accepted into the training program.
He has worked everywhere from Boronia, Dandenong, Wodonga before finding himself in Horsham’s district 17.
Mr Ebbles said there was a range of things that drew him and kept him with the authority, but none as important as the people.
“You come to work everyday and there’s no telling what might happen,” he said.
“That’s a big attraction.
“The people you work with – there’s a real camaraderie.
“Your shift mates become your second family, you live in each other’s pockets.
“Your lives are in each others hands.”
Mr Ebbles said to counter the difficult, often emotionally and physically exhausting work, workmates rallied to make each other laugh.
“It’s a simple story but one Christmas Day at Boronia and we’d had a Christmas lunch with families coming to the station,” he said.
“After lunch we wanted a sleep but couldn’t so we were a bit bored. I dressed up as Captain Koala and hid outside.
“A car went passed and I jumped out – the kids in the back loved it.
“Later the same car came back and I recognised it.
“The parents got out with the children and gave me gum leaves.”
Mr Ebbles said his early days a fire stations were filled with hi-jinx from water fights to spraying other stations with foam.
He said antics within the authority had settled down, but camaraderie remained.
“At the end of the day we’re here to do one thing and that’s serve the community, we never lose sight of that,” he said.
“It’s important that you don’t lose your sense of humour, it might be the only thing getting you through the dark.”
Mr Ebbles said he had seen huge technological advances during his time in the Country Fire Authority, along with a real push for support services.