What do controlling invasive weeds, refurbishing an iconic community tower and coordinating emergency aircraft have in common? They’re all in a day’s work for Damian Sharrock – metaphorically speaking.

Damian is one of hundreds of DEECA staff who ‘down tools’ on their routine roles to fulfil a specialised emergency role when the need arises. Damian might be working in the Bendigo office one day, then in an Incident Control Centre anywhere in the state the next.

“I enjoy the diversity that having an emergency role provides,” says Damian. “I meet a lot of people and make connections that carry through to my day-to-day work.”

By day, Damian is a senior program officer in the Loddon Mallee region’s Land and Built Environment team. The team manages unreserved public land, such as waterfront verges, and supports voluntary committees who manage local reserves and recreation areas such as the local footy oval or public hall.

In a business-as-usual week, he progresses myriad projects that may include removing an invasive weed that travelled into the area on floodwaters. He could also be working with the community to refurbish a beloved tower overlooking the town of Maryborough.

Damian Sharrock is a senior program officer in the Loddon Mallee region’s Land and Built Environment team and holds an emergency role as aircraft officer.

When there’s a bushfire or a flood, Damian’s work is less about land, more about air and the logistics involved with emergency aircraft.

As an Aircraft Officer, Damian is focused on fuel for aircraft (where, when and how) and fuel for pilots – having access to food and accommodation. Logistics can include what aircraft are carrying, too.

“During the 2022 floods, we had to think quickly when asked if we could carry chemotherapy drugs from Swan Hill to Kerang,” says Damian. “Once they’re out of the fridge they can’t go back in the fridge, and they have to be used within hours,” he adds.

“During the 2022 floods we carried everything from blankets to food, paramedics and police,” said Damian. “While police Air Wing regulations govern day-to-day police movements, they don’t necessarily apply during an emergency incident in non-Police aircraft,” said Damian.

“We quickly determined that firearms must be carried unloaded, and ammunition secured separately.”

This month marks Damian’s decade with DEECA's Land and Built Environment team, and it's been 22 years since starting as a Project Firefighter in 2002.

“All the roles I’ve had go hand-in-hand,” says Damian. “Having fire knowledge and being able to read the landscape is beneficial when managing land.”

“During the flood, I was working in incident response in my emergency role, and working with impacted communities on recovery in my day role,” Damian adds.

If you’re interested in joining the Forest Fire Management Victoria crews as a seasonal firefighter, (November to April), and seeing where it leads you, find out more and register your interest on the Project Firefighter recruitment webpage.

Page last updated: 17/05/24