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Meet Liane from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services


Liane Henderson has supported her community and empowered young women in the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), both as a volunteer and staff member, for more than 20 years. 

Liane is an Acting Inspector for the Rural Fire Service (RFS) and a volunteer firefighter with the Samsonvale Rural Fire Brigade. 

“My husband’s family has been associated with the brigade for 70 years, since its inception,” Liane said. “I joined because I live out at Cobble Creek and we’re a community – we’re there to help each other. 

“My husband’s been First Officer for 13 years, one of my daughters is Third Officer and my other daughter works in the QFES Warnings team. It’s great – we can bounce ideas off each other. 

“When I started doing training courses, somebody saw in me some potential, so they invited me to work as a staff member for a couple of weeks. That was in 2012 and I’ve been there ever since. 

“I’ve really developed and honed my leadership skills and it’s made me grow as a human. It’s taught me resilience, humility and empathy. It’s a good thing to be a part of.”

Liane said one of the biggest challenges of her work with QFES was the demands on her time. 

“One of my jobs is to support the volunteers and there are a lot of them with a lot of expectations – that can be challenging at times. And when I work in Incident Management Teams there’s a lot of pressure, but I love it.

“I’ve been to Western Australia twice on deployment and that taught me a lot. But the thing that probably broke me a little bit was the NSW bushfires and seeing the complete and utter devastation of hundreds-of-year-old trees and animals. That absolutely nearly broke me, driving through the affected areas and seeing beautiful historic buildings reduced to rubble.”

Liane said she was passionate about women’s leadership and mentoring younger women, especially ones who showed promise of leadership.

“It’s rewarding to help them through the minefield along the way and teach them about resilience and how to deal with certain situations. It’s important to make sure the younger ones coming through the ranks get the support they need – not just the girls but the boys as well. 

“I’m passionate about our environment and how we need to put fire on the ground to look after it. I’m fortunate to work with our First Nations Bushfire Safety Officer and it’s great to see QFES taking traditional burning seriously.” 

Liane said her advice to young women considering joining QFES as a staff member or volunteer was to seek out a mentor. 

“Identify somebody as a mentor and do as much training as you can. It really helps if you’re a community-minded person, because that’s what we’re here for. 

“The characteristics of a good firefighter are staying calm under pressure, thinking things through and making sure you follow your training and processes, because that’s going to keep you safe. 

“Being part of QFES for the last 22 years has helped me develop in a way I didn’t know I had the potential to. That includes going through the hard stuff as well.”