CQUni Knows Johnny
Bachelor of Emergency Service
My passion for helping people started with the military. I was a cavalry soldier in the Australian Army for seven years. I’ve been overseas a couple of times… seen stuff over there and when I came back found I had a real passion for safety. I like to make sure that people go home to their families, so it was easy for me to transition from the military into an emergency response medicine management role. When you're responding to an emergency you have to have that decisive action. You have to be able to quickly analyse the situation: ‘what is going on here, what are the risks and hazards to my team what do I need to do to bring that situation down?’. And a lot of that thought process was taught in the military. There’s a lot of transferable skills. That’s the main reason I got into it and I haven’t looked back.
Now, I work full time at a major liquefied natural gas plant. I do two weeks on and two weeks off. During my two weeks off I study. The main reason I'm doing this degree is because it's related heavily to my role as an industrial firefighter, and also because safety is a passion of mine. There’s a lot of risk involved to the team and when we go to an emergency, there’s a lot we have to weigh up when we respond.
I want to understand different aspects of what we do to help shape things in the future. The Human Factors unit, for example, was interesting because it was all about ergonomics. When I contextualise it to what I do and to my team – I get them to lift heavy things all the time. We use cutting gear – ‘jaws of life’ – and they can weigh quite a lot. So continually doing that over time increases their musculoskeletal risk significantly. With that knowledge I can minimise how often they do it or look at getting a lighter piece of equipment.
I didn’t really look into a lot of different universities. I had really good mate in the army who studied a Bachelor of Paramedic Science when he got out and he raved about it. He was the one that put me onto CQUniversity. CQUni made it very simple for me to choose. It gave me the flexibility to study in my own time: I can be as busy as I want to be or I can do as little as I need to. If I decide to go overseas, I can continue my studies. Basically, the flexibility is the main reason I chose the online experience.
It’s very difficult sometimes to explain emergency services. It can include a firefighter working for the state fire service, a paramedic, a police officer, a state emergency service person, and there’s also medical services in the private sector. A lot of what we do is planning for and preventing emergencies from occurring. We do a lot of workplace inspections and random walk-throughs of the plant with safety staff. We do a lot of compliance and risk assessments. In preparation for responding to emergencies, we identify what likely emergency events can occur and based on those, we rehearse and train for those.
Elements of the online systems that CQUniversity uses are very intuitive. The lecturers were supportive and I could use them as often as I needed. I haven’t had any issues with any of the instructors – it’s a high calibre level of teaching.
For me, this degree is about just having that next level of knowledge so that I can apply that in the field that I work in.