As a raging inferno threatened Canberra suburbs for the first time in 17 years, soldiers teamed up with ACT police going door-to-door to keep residents aware of the situation and give advice.
They spoke to people at their doors, in their cars and on the streets of Canberra’s most southern suburbs on the night of January 28.
One of them was Private Lleyton Jones, of the 7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment.
“They were a bit surprised a soldier was knocking on the door, but they were happy to see us giving advice and letting them know about the fires,” he said.
“Most people said they were here for the 2003 fires. They were pretty prepared with hoses on their roofs and gardens cleared.
“Some people had already got their stuff out and were moving closer in to the centre of Canberra.”
Private Jones took some public interaction tips from the police before he got started.
“They were pretty helpful. You’d begin by watching them do it for the first couple of times then you’d split up,” he said.
“The residents were all pretty thankful for us getting out there and helping the community.”