Fiona Gavagan was "mesmerised" as she watched the work of Canberra's emergency services saving lives and properties in a deadly bushfire season.
The government worker was hooked after she saw the work firsthand, at the peak of Canberra's horrific summer.
But she decided she couldn't sit back and just watch any more. Ms Gavagan wanted to take action, which is why she signed up up as one of 70 new recruits to the ACT State Emergency Service preparing for a season entirely different to last.
"I got to go in on a Saturday and help in the incident room. I was just mesmerised by all the different agencies, there was Parks, SES, RFS," she said.
"All these different people were working together in this perfect harmony. I was hooked from that moment on the idea of being a part of that in a more serious way."
They might have missed the horrors of last summer, but the recruits are in for a busy season with the La Nina system expected to push more thunderstorms, heavy rain and potential flash flooding to the Canberra region until April next year.
In 2020 style, SES training was conducted primarily online and the in-person course condensed into an intensive nine-day experience.
Sarah Murphy had planned on signing up in 2019 but couldn't.
When she drove past the Tuggeranong SES base as fires raged last year, all she could think was she wanted to be in there helping.
This year she will be.
"I wanted to be involved in the family you get within the SES," she said.
"You're not just signing up as an individual, the people within the unit become like family," she said.
Ms Murphy has already been out fixing leaking roofs in recent weeks, and is prepared and excited for a big season ahead.
Emergency Services Minister Mick Gentleman said the volunteers' graduation would bolster the service ahead of what is expected to be a bad storm season in the months ahead.
I wanted to be involved in the family you get within the SES. You're not just signing up as an individual, the people within the unit become like family.Sarah Murphy
"These recruits have developed skills in storm and water damage, land-based floodwater rescue, safety and first aid," he said.
"They are well prepared to be first responders during floods and storms and to provide crucial support to other emergency services.
"The new cohort is very reflective of the Canberra community with members from 18 to 70 years-of-age from various backgrounds and all walks-of-life," he said.
ESA commissioner Georgeina Whelan said the new-comers had adapted quickly to a changing system following the widespread disruption of coronavirus.
"I would like to welcome and thank our newest recruits for choosing to protect and support the Canberra community during their time of need," she said.