The first thing that strikes you about Holly Dragon (beyond having the coolest name in the fire business) is how level-headed and mature she is. She’s 20 years old and already immersed in one of the most serious and sobering volunteer gigs going – at the One Tree Hill Country Fire Service.
Holly signed up to the CFS Cadet Program in 2017, accompanying a friend who was interested in becoming a volunteer. Holly instantly connected with the course, which led her to become a fully-qualified responding firefighter three years later.
Most of her volunteer hours are spent in weekly training, which Holly described as extremely important. Holly said the training not only prepared her with the skills in the event of a fire or emergency, it also built relationships with her fellow volunteers. She described her crew as family and “you know in any crisis, they have your back”.
During the fire danger season, the One Tree Hill CFS can receive several call-outs each week. The types of emergencies vary from bush and grass fires, to clearing storm damage, assisting during flooding, or supporting at vehicle accidents, and chemical spills. “Once we were called out to rescue a possum stuck up a tree,” Holly said while she laughed and questioned why it would even need their help.
Call outs to significant fires sound frightening, but Holly was philosophical about it. “When you get a call out, everything you’re worrying about in your day-to-day life goes out of your head,” she said. “Your training kicks in and you’re just laser focused on chasing the fire and putting it out.” And what does Holly do after the fire is out? “I just get on with my life,” Holly said, as unassuming and modest as everyday heroes often are.
The CFS firefighter said her role as a community volunteer was rewarding and encouraged others to consider becoming an active member. “It’s really good being able to help the community – and the more volunteers we have, the quicker we can get out to a job, the quicker we can put a fire out,” Holly said. “It’s just really important, and makes you feel pretty good about helping out your neighbours.”
It’s never too late to prepare your home.
- Clear gutters and any trees overhanging your home
- Remove any firewood piles that may lean on the side of the house
- Clear weeds and debris around your property
- Make sure to have a fire safety plan – visit the CFS at cfs.sa.gov.au