Perth volunteer fights fires on multiple fronts

Published on LEUT Will Singer (author), Unknown (photographer)

Location(s): Rockingham

Topic(s): Fleet Base West, HMAS Perth (F157), Team Navy

Left to Right: Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mitchell Rodway (HMAS Perth), the Honourable Francis Logan MLA (Emergency Services Minister WA) and Lieutenant Commander Adam Cooper (HMAS Perth)] (photo: Unknown)
Left to Right: Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mitchell Rodway (HMAS Perth), the Honourable Francis Logan MLA (Emergency Services Minister WA) and Lieutenant Commander Adam Cooper (HMAS Perth)]
A Navy ship has received a ‘Silver Award’ from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services Volunteer Employer Recognition Awards held at Government House in Perth - acknowledging the important contribution provided to the community.
 
The Royal Australian Navy was one of 91 employers recognised for the dedication and support of fire and emergency service volunteers that played a critical role in protecting the community during natural disasters and emergencies.
 
Lieutenant Commander Adam Cooper accepted the award from Western Australian Emergency Services Minister, the Honourable Francis Logan, MLA, for the support of Able Seaman Combat Systems Operator Mitchell Rodway for granting work-release for the Rockingham Volunteer Fire Service during his time in HMAS Perth.
 
When out of Navy rig, Able Seaman Rodway’s role as a volunteer firefighter is to protect and repair desperate communities impacted by structural fires, road crash rescue, bushfires, hazardous material spills and building alarms.
 
“It was great to have Perth recognised for their commitment and support in allowing me to volunteer,” Able Seaman Rodway said.
 
“My senior sailors were a great help especially with advice and allowing me to get to incidents so it’s good to have that recognised.
 
“On station, I am responsible for checking and maintaining equipment, school visits, teaching fire safety and keeping up to date with training.
 
“I enjoy knowing that we’re making a difference in the community and helping those people in need.
 
“There is no better feeling than being a part of a close-knit team that plays a major role in saving a life or property.
 
“As a volunteer firefighter I respond to incidents within the community day or night,” he said.
 
Given Navy’s leadership in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations and damage control training, Able Seaman Rodway believes that there are plenty of similarities between his role as a firefighter and the Navy.
 
“The teamwork and discipline is a great example,” Able Seaman Rodway said.
 
“The chain of command, management and communications at incidents were very easy to learn since it corresponded so closely with the Navy and my role.
 
“I have also taken so much back into the Navy since I can apply and pass on real situational experience and techniques with other sailors in a damage control and casualty management roles.”
 
Some of the incidents he has attended have been confronting especially if there were casualties or fatalities involved.
 
“This is traumatic for victims and civilians around bringing out a lot of emotions that can cause stressful environments which require us to be aware of and work around,” he said.
 
“Summer is always challenging as I have to manage my work commitments with a number of bushfires in Perth that can require long shifts during the days and nights.
 
“I’m looking forward to consolidating my knowledge and experiences through courses with fire and rescue and the Navy in the New Year,” he said.