First Responder Story: “Having a transition plan, that’s the key.”

“People in the future will be so grateful for these sorts of opportunities, to work with Fortem and be able to do those transitions a lot easier than we have done in the past, so it’s just fantastic we have got these sort of opportunities now.”

Todd Pender, a former WA Police Officer joined our Fortem community as the guest speaker at our October Virtual Coffee and Connect, as part of the new Transition & Employment Program.

Todd spoke of his own experience transitioning out of his 33 year career serving the community through the police force.

You can join the conversation via the video below.

Todd reflects upon the circumstances that lead him to transition from WA Police to the Department of Fire and Emergency (DFES), where he works now as a Natural Hazards District Officer.

Todd speaks to the fundamentals of the Fortem Transition & Employment Program when asked what he found most helpful in taking the step to transition. Todd emphasises that in his experience, “its having a transition plan, that’s the key.”

When he decided 10-12 years ago that he may one day want to transition he equipped himself, “try to develop your own resilience, and that’s what organisations like Fortem can help individuals with, that people know they are not on their own.”

Todd acknowledges that while his transition was voluntary, it was still life changing as a large part of his identity came from his career in the police force, “it was huge, I had been a police officer for 33 years, as a 17 year old I had started, so I knew making that transition was going to be massive for me.”

Speaking with confidence in the first responder community, Todd says people acquire numerous employable skills that with the right help can be transferred to other careers. “that really is illustrated to me that as police officers, emergency responders and defence, we do get developed really well, we get some skills that we pick up along the way, that makes us attractive to other opportunities and other employers.”

Todd discusses the impact that transitioning had on his family. He says that while it can make for some difficult and challenging conversations there have been many positive impacts on his life through more time and flexibility to develop relationship with family and friends, not to mention the health benefits. 

There’s much more to this conversation, click play to watch…

More about our speaker:

Todd Pender, District Officer Natural Hazards, Department of Fire and Emergency Services.

Todd is a Father of two adult children. Has a strong interest in community and youth which is demonstrated in his coaching of youth and colt level sporting programs in Australian Rules and netball.

Currently Todd is employed by the Department of Fire and Emergency Services as a District Officer Natural Hazards in the metropolitan area. He was part of the response to Geraldton for Tropical Cyclone Seroja, Wooroloo Bush Fire, NSW floods, and search and rescue missions (both ground and air) in support of WA Police for missing persons.

Todd was a WA Police Officer for 33 years and worked front line general duties and traffic in both the Perth Metro area and regional WA, also in emergency operations and youth policing.

Todd was a volunteer member of the WA State Emergency Service for 29 years and deployed across WA to respond to incidents.

Don’t miss the November Virtual Coffee & Connect…

Fortem activities, events and community engagements are designed to support the mental fitness of our first responder families. Read more about Our Approach.
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