MOST of them work several jobs, but four retained firefighters from Tweed Heads have been dedicating what spare time they do have to honing their skills ahead of an international competition this month.
Jacob Spence, Jonny Chemello and Daniel Perrin, led by Fire and Rescue colleague and qualified trainer Callum Taylor, will soon head to Carterton, New Zealand for the Australasian Firefighting Championships from November 17-19.
It will be a first for all four of them, and they hope to make a strong impression among other Kiwi and Australian firefighters.
Mr Taylor said for retained firefighters, who often back up the station's full-timers and don't always get to save the day at fire calls, the competitions were a chance to put their skills to good use.
While they will be working on unfamiliar styles of equipment across the ditch, he said they had been training hard to be on top of their game.
"We're one of the only stations that has permanents and retained firefighters,” Mr Taylor said.
"Whenever we get call-outs, we turn up here after the permanents are gone.
"Often, we get to an incident and there's not a lot to do. We do a lot of training... but we find at times, morale drops a little bit because we're not getting enough time doing what we're trained for.
"So we decided... to go straight into the deep end.”