Pray for our Firefighters

Since September 1st, there have been over 2000 bushfires in Queensland. As of last Sunday (10 November) there were 71 still burning, with conditions set to deteriorate further around the end of this week. (Saturday 16th - Sunday 17th)

There has now been a State of Fire Emergency declared over half of Queensland, and all of New South Wales, as efforts continue to combat this unprecedented fire season. Many people have noticed smoke in the air in the last few days, and are wondering where it is coming from.

It was recently asked of me to let people know just what is involved in these fires, and who to pray for, what to do to help?

Many Firefighters in affected regions have been fighting these fires and on High Alert since early October, and they are tired. Fatigue and dangerous work are not a good combination. Please pray for our firefighters. If you see them in the street, thank them for what they do.

Rural Firefighters who battle these blazes often do so in their own home area. This means that while they are away fighting fires, their own homes may be under threat or even lost. Please pray for those who go to protect their communities at the expense of their own homes.

The Families of Firefighters spend long hours worrying if their loved ones will be safe, and what effect the constant dangerous work will have on their loved ones. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a constant danger for those who have been through so much. Please pray for the families of Firefighters.

I have sat with those who have lost their homes to bushfires, and they are utterly devastated, lost, with no idea what to do next. Fires take everything, with little or no warning. Please pray for those who have lost homes. Please also pray for those who have been evacuated, and don’t know if they even have a home to go back to.

Senior Management of Police and Fire Services across the country have a difficult role, as they make decisions that they know could endanger their people. Their responsibilities are huge, and their work is often thankless. Please pray for them.

Air Operations continue tirelessly, dropping water on these fires, and without them, Firefighters would have no chance of stopping the fires. Usually, resources are brought in from NSW and elsewhere. This is not possible this time, as those resources are needed in their own home areas. Please pray for the Pilots and Air Crews.

In the current drought, finding enough water to get to the fire trucks, or to drop from above, is difficult. Please continue to pray for widespread soaking rain over the Eastern States of Australia, as it is the only thing that will bring this fire season to an end, and stop the devastation.

Thank God for the human spirit, and for all who are pulling together to “give a mate a hand”. Thank God for all the support workers, from those provide a safe refuge for livestock and pets, to those who make sandwiches and donate bottled drinking water. There are many others who serve in various ways, big and small. Please thank God for all of them, and ask for his protection on them.

Pastor Joel Pukallus (Class of 1993)
LCAQD Pastor
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Chaplain (Toowoomba Command)
Auxiliary Firefighter

Pastor Joel Pukallus (93), (son of Redeemer's longest-serving chaplain, Pastor Athol Pukallus, brother of current staff members Jonathan Pukallus and Rachael Stelzer) is an Auxiliary Firefighter with Queensland Fire and Emergency Service, protecting his community against bushfires and structure fires, responding to car crash rescues and hazardous materials incidents. This is a paid, part-time position that involves ongoing training two hours a week and responding within minutes whenever his pager activates.

As a Pastor of the Lutheran Church, Pastor Joel felt it was natural to offer his services as the Volunteer Chaplain for the Toowoomba Command of Queensland Fire and Emergency, looking after firefighters and their families, as well as victims and witnesses of critical incidents. It is a daunting role, as he never knows what he will be driving into, from helping families who have lost everything in a fire, to counselling those who have just witnessed the death of their loved ones. This role sees him being responsible for Area and Regional headquarters, and 5 other town as well as Toowoomba, including Crows Nest, Highfields, Goombungee, Oakey, and Pittsworth.

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