SERVICE: Bundaberg woman Carla Russell is the air force's newest graduate.
SERVICE: Bundaberg woman Carla Russell is the air force's newest graduate. CONTRIBUTED

Dream job becomes reality for Bundaberg service woman

FOR Carla Russell a career in emergency services had always been a dream, and last week that dream became a reality.

The 28-year-old Bundaberg woman recently completed almost 11 weeks of training at a Wagga Wagga military base and is now officially an air force fire fighter.

"I've always wanted to be an emergency responder, whether it be in the police or Queensland fire fighters,” Ms Russell said.

"Defence offered me both job security and appealing opportunities for both (my) lifestyle and career which I couldn't resist.”

The air force graduate, who is currently stationed at the Amberley RAAF base outside Ipswich, is part way through her fire fighting training and will be qualified in around four months' time.

"My duties include structural rescue and firefighting, hazardous materials response, motor vehicle accident response, wildfire response, operator level maintenance and functional testing of fire vehicles and ancillary equipment mounted on fire vehicles,” she said.

Other duties include maintaining high levels of readiness through on the job training, providing aid to the civil community when required, decontamination of personnel and equipment as a result of agents/chemicals accidentally discharged during peacetime, following deliberate chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear attacks and continuation training of military and civilian personnel employed on air force bases.

The ability to move to different bases was a draw card for Ms Russell who said she could be posted around the country to locations in Tindal in the Northern Territory or to Williamtown or Richmond in New South Wales.

"I can deploy overseas and on different operations within the RAAF, and progress in ranks through accrued time in service and courses,” she said.

"I would like to progress in ranks and possibly return back to the fire training school as an instructor later on in my career.”

Needless to say, the new graduate felt as though she had made a step in the right direction. "Choosing to follow this career path has definitely been the best decision of my life so far and I can't wait to see where it takes me,” she said.

Ms Russell's mother Helen said she was incredibly proud of her daughter, who had been working towards this goal for a number of years.