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Fire Service Medal
Alan Pugh was presented the 2022 Australian Fire Service Medal for 48 years of service at the Kalamunda Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service.

Volunteer dedication honoured

BRING your own jeans and overalls and jump on the back of the truck, were the instructions given to Alan Pugh when he signed up to the Kalamunda Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service in 1974.

New to the country, having just moved to the Perth Hills from the UK, Mr Pugh joined the brigade to meet people in the place he’d call home.

“We came up here and bought a house in Lesmurdie and didn’t know anybody, joining was really a social thing so I could get some friends built up,” he said.

“I had no idea what it meant [to be a fire and rescue volunteer], my only experience was watching the fire brigade in Manchester driving around like a bunch of hooligans and I thought that looks like fun.

“It fired up a bit of interest in me and I honestly didn’t know what to expect, we were never put anywhere dangerous, but we were thrown into the deep end.”

Forty-eight years of service later, Mr Pugh was this week awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours for his commitment to protecting West Australians.

Over his time in various roles, including apparatus officer, secretary and brigade captain, he has responded to 4919 incident calls and has been officer-in-charge at 1071 incidents, giving him the distinction of being the most active firefighter in the history of Kalamunda VFRS.

“I feel chuffed about receiving the medal, it is great,” he said.

While Mr Pugh said he felt honoured to have his service recognised, his commitment hasn’t come without sacrifice.

He expressed his heartache over missing quality family time particularly his daughter’s birthdays, to attend urgent callouts.

“It is so demanding on time, it controls everything,” Mr Pugh added.

“It means if you leave after 48 years, you leave your social life too, it is a double-edged sword, it’s a fantastic group to be in but bloody hard to leave.

“The brigade is a very close-knit group, and we have fights like any other family, it’s not all sweetness and roses but they resolve and when the chips are down you work together.”

Acting Emergency Services and Volunteering Minister Tony Buti said it was fantastic to see emergency services personnel like Mr Pugh recognised nationally for their extraordinary dedication over such long periods.

“Recognition in the Queen’s Birthday Honours is a significant achievement and is a fitting tribute to the selfless and hard-working people who have had a profound impact on emergency services and their local communities throughout Western Australia,” he said.

Outside attending to house and bush fires and car accidents, Mr Pugh said educating students has also been rewarding.

“We do a lot of scout visits, school visits and other extracurricular duties, and that’s fun, I have grown into that job of running visits,” he said.

“We do tours of the station and there is a curriculum we run through with the students.

“We let them squirt their teachers with cold water from the trucks and it is fulfilling seeing the look on their faces.”

Mr Pugh continues to volunteer his time at the station up to five days a week and said his goal this year is to reach 5000 responded incident calls.

By Morgan de Smidt

About The Editorial Team

Echo News gives readers an alternative to other media outlets in WA and enjoys a very high rate of readership in its distribution area. Our Echo News team are a small group of devoted individuals who work hard to give the local community an easy to read, yet intelligent mix of local community stories.

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