Fire fighting: a boyhood dream come true
Like a lot of kids in his kindergarten class, Costa Fiakos told everyone that when he grew up he wanted to be a firefighter.
Over the next two decades his classmates grew out of it. Costa didn’t.
The 25-year-old has been a firefighter with Fire &Rescue NSW for just over two years now. And while he admits the job is not exactly the one he imagined as a boy, he says he wouldn’t swap it for anything.
“The hardest part is having to deal with people on the worst days of their lives and trying to keep emotion out of the situation and just complete the task at hand,” Mr Fiakos said.
“But Fire & Rescue NSW has exposed me to different experiences, things I would have never been seen in any other job, and it’s a career that comes with an immediate and very high level of job satisfaction,” he said.
After leaving school Costa tried a number of careers and had success in several fields.
“I worked as a personal trainer, owned a mortgage broker franchise, worked as a carpenter and started my own painting business. But I always had my sights set on joining Fire & Rescue.”
Costa was accepted into a recruit class in September 2011 and is now a Qualified Firefighter at Campsie, in south west Sydney. He said he would eventually like to move to a specialist Rescue station, but is happy where he is.
“Campsie is a busy station; we have a wide variety of incidents and look after a very diverse and growing community.”
Costa said his Greek-Cypriot background has helped him deal with the area’s large Greek speaking community.
“Whenever we come across a member of the public who can’t speak much, or any English, but is of Greek or Cypriot background it helps that I can talk to them, especially if they are panicked. It also comes in handy when we are installing smoke alarms for the elderly.”
Costa said anyone thinking of applying should be patient with the selection process.
“It can take a while and be daunting for some people, but if you have a strong character, good common sense, have an eye for detail and a good attitude towards others, I’d say go for it.”