Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Trusting yourself and having the confidence to carrying out a task effectively are the key elements of a firemen's life, says a man who has spent the past 26 years in the field.
Timoci Ranavue, 47, is a man of great strength and who is passionate about his work.
He is the one of the three sub-officers in charge at the Suva Fire Station in Walu Bay.
Ranavue likes challenges and taking risks in life because he sees it as a chance to test his skills and capabilities.
He hails from Naselai, Nuku, in Tailevu, saying joining the National Fire Authority as a cadet fireman was his first paid employment.
Ranavue said he was lucky to have been accepted in the team as he had only reached fourth form.
Today, the entry requirement for firemen has been upgraded to a sixth form pass.
"I went up to Form Four at Shridhar Secondary School, in Nausori, and after that was looking after my father's shop in the village," he said.
"I was lucky to be taken in that time because now the system is different," he said.
He joined the Suva Fire Station in 1981 as a probation fireman.
"I was only 21 years then but I was prepared to tackle the great challenges waiting ahead for me.
"This was something I wanted to do because this profession has been in our blood.
"My grandfather was a fire fighter in Nadi, my father was the station officer in Suva and my eldest son, Ilaitia is a fire officer in Nadi.
"It is in our blood and I am proud of it." he said.
"I have followed the footsteps of my ancestors and I am glad that at least one of my sons is in the same field to carry this on," he said.
"It was my dream and I just followed my heart."
Ranavue, who has three sons and a daughter, said he loved his work and looked forward to every day at the fire station.
"My job is to keep everyone together and tell them what to do," he said.
"Teamwork is our biggest strength. Without teamwork nothing will be achieved.
"You just can't work on your own. I prepare the team and give out instructions on what is to be done.
"When there is a call for a fire, I have to organise the fire fighters to get ready within a very short period of time, wear our protective clothing and off we go. It is my job to tell them how to react at the scene," he said.
After successfully completing his probation period he became a fireman.
Ranavue was then promoted to senior fireman and after five years became sub-officer in charge of the Suva Fire Station.
This is the position he now holds, supervising 11 senior firemen.
In 2000, he was given the chance to attend a firefighting rescue course in Japan for three months.
In April he was sent to Australia for a week to learn motor vehicle testing.
"I enjoyed going out because I learnt a lot from these two trips. It was an opportunity to learn more about motor vehicle and rope rescue techniques. It built more on my ability and talent," he said.
Many may think a firefighter's job is risky but not Ranavue.
"I don't see it as risky at all. All you need to do is trust yourself and believe in yourself that you can do that particular task. You have to have the confidence that you can handle it and handle it well," he said.
He said there had been great improvements and advancements in the National Fire Authority since he started there.
"There have been new fire stations built in Valelevu, Nausori, Labasa, Levuka and Sigatoka. There is another one about to be built in Nadi.
His advice to young people is simple: "Believe in yourself."

Adapted from Fijitimes Online