About

Personal safety is what FERST is all about. For more than a decade we have been working with government, corporate and community organisations to keep their workplaces safe, meet industry standards and save lives in the event of an emergency.

Established in 2007 by Canberra local, Gary Cheeseman, FERST is an independent family business providing specialised emergency training, products and consultation throughout the A.C.T, NSW and Northern Victoria.

All of our specialists have front-line emergency response experience with backgrounds in the military, fire and other response services. FERST are ready to deliver both Nationally Recognised and Compliance training that exceed the Australian Standard requirements as corporate members of Fire Protection Australia (FPA).

We also offer a range of training courses and packages and tailor them to your own workplace while meeting Australian Standards, legislation and requirements.​ We update and refresh our training and materials as new legislation is introduced and becomes law.

We produce Evacuation Diagrams, Emergency Response Manuals and other response tools for your corporation.

FERST: We’re here to help.

Our Team

Click each team members image for more information

Gary Cheeseman

Managing Director

Alex Robertson

Emergency Response Specialist

Matthew Burgess

Emergency Response Specialist

Brent Wallis

Emergency Response Specialist

James Cheeseman

Evacuation Diagram Technician

Martin Price

Emergency Response Specialist

Brendan Garske

Marketing and Development

Leon Cornish

Emergency Response Specialist

Leon Cornish

Safety Advisor 

With over 40 years’ experience in the business, Leon has been a safety training consultant to many high-profile organisations including the Australian Federal Police, The Canberra Fire Service, Chubb Fire Security and safety firm, Trimevac. An Electrician by trade, Leon joined the A.C.T Fire brigade in 1976 where he remained for 17 years becoming a senior training manager. Leon went beyond active service to pursue his passion: maintaining personal safety through specialist training. He sees his consulting work as giving back to the community.

Brendan Garske

Marketing and Business Development 

Brendan recently joined FERST during his final year of university, while completing a Bachelor of Business (Entrepreneurship and Innovation). Brendan heads our marketing with an emphasis on providing value and meeting customer needs. Brendan also directs our business development, with improving service to clients and creating more empowered organisations a major priority.

Martin Price

Emergency Response Specialist 

Martin is a well known individual in the safety industry after more than 4 decades in the field. Throughout this time he has worked for many leading organisations in a variety of roles and gained valuable qualifications. These include certificates in Work Health & Safety, Assessment & Training, Security and Fire Protection.

Beginning his career in the military, Martin gained a broad scope of knowledge and appreciation for safety and personnel protection. He has since worked as a commercial fire sprinkler fitter and assessor, ensuring large organisations have correct and functional fire and emergency safety systems. This experience is also complimented by many years as a sales and service specialist in portable fire protection products such as extinguishers and fire blankets. Martin has been an integral part of the FERST team since its formation in 2007.

James Cheeseman

Evacuation Diagram Technician

With extensive background in high end commercial printing and design, James heads our evacuation diagram production team. James' experience in sales and management combined with a passion for safety and an eye for detail ensures a high quality product for all clients. After many years with FERST, James has become an expert in evacuation diagrams requirements and legislation, providing accurate and efficient service to organisations of all sizes.

Brent Wallis

Emergency Response Specialist 

As well as being an Emergency Response Specialist at FERST, Brent is the current head of Michelago Rural Fire Brigade. Brent has over 23 years experience as a firefighter which has provided him with in depth knowledge and practical experience regarding safety, fire and effective processes. His time in the RFS has exposed him to a range of emergency responses from building and vehicles to bush and grass fires. Due to his extensive knowledge, he now holds various senior roles including group captain, heavy plant manager and lead training instructor at the Monaro RFS. Brent's biggest test came recently during the 2020 bushfires south of Canberra where Brents team successfully protected all houses and lives put at risk by the fast moving inferno in the Michelago region. Brent also holds valuable qualifications such as multiple certificates in Public Safety, Firefighting management and Building Construction.

Matthew Burgess

Emergency Response Specialist 

As a former RAAF Air Field Defence Guard and NSW Rural Fire Fighter, Matt has a strong interest in public safety and emergency management. In more than 12 years’ frontline experience, Matt has managed several local flood operations in the Murrumbidgee region for the NSW State Emergency Service as well as assisting in the operations management of Task Force Delta: the NSW SES’ first response team to far North Queensland in the aftermath of Cyclone Yasi. Matt has served on Incident Management Teams for several major Bushfires including the 2014 Wagga Wagga fires and 2019 Tumut/Tumbarumba region fires. Matt holds a Bachelor Degree in Emergency Management from Charles Sturt University as well as certificates in Training and Development and Public Safety (fire-fighting, SES operations and SES rescue). He is a member of the Australian Institute of Emergency Services and a graduate of Emergency Management studies. As the head of our Murray-Riverina region, Matt combines his theoretical knowledge and practical experience to service local organisations in all aspects of emergency management. His other roles include: Operations Officer with NSW SES, Training and Development Officer with the NSW Emergency Services Division of the Australian Red Cross and Fire Mitigation Works Crew with NSW RFS.

Alex Robertson

Emergency Response Specialist 

Alex has a passion for helping people achieve the highest standard of emergency response command and control, especially complex decision making in arduous circumstances. Alex is a former Explosive Ordnance Technician (and instructor), having served 12 years in the Royal Australian Engineers, ADF. During this time he has served in many front-line humanitarian disaster zones. Alex also has extensive experience in the private security industry, managing security for events, pubs, clubs, transport and private establishments. Combining this extensive skill set, along with a focused, level headed and calm attitude, ensures Alex can provide scalable and relevant solutions to a wide range of organisations and communities. Alex specialises in building well trained emergency response teams who form a more productive and resilient workforce, therefore creating more resilient communities trained to respond to, and recover from today's threats and challenges.

Gary Cheeseman

Managing Director 

Gary entered the Public Service and worked in various federal departments until 1996 working in corporate areas and with a heavy involvement in ECO roles. But Gary had a vision to build his own company, as his father had before him, and set about researching a potential growth area and gap in the market. Gary had noticed how legislation usually followed an incident or disaster, especially those which affected members of the community. He saw how industry standards often grew out of a workplace environment that required some form of regulation.

As the responses to fire and emergency situations were maturing, Gary realised he could help local businesses and other organisations fulfil their obligations regarding emergency planning and so help save lives in the process, without having the constrictions of a national service provider thrust upon them.