Episode #41: Lifeguard Maxi Speaks On Life as a First Responder

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Our guest today is Trent Maxwell, better known as Lifeguard Maxi from the TV program, Bondi Rescue. As the youngest ever professional lifeguard to work at Australia’s world famous Bondi Beach, Maxi began his career as a trainee lifeguard at age 15 and at age 24 he turned his childhood dream of becoming a firefighter into reality.

Maxi joins us to discuss life as a first responder, how he deals with the traumatic events he witnesses day after day, his own self care strategies and how he stays positive and tirelessly committed to his work. Maxi talks about the importance of his supportive peer group, keeping a healthy body, healthy mind and taking advantage of the counselling services provided to him.

Becoming a firefighter is no easy feat and Maxi shares about his passion to get into the force, being knocked back for 6 years in a row and how it didn’t sway his determination to live out his childhood dream. Maxi also shares about his work with Life Learn Survive and how he travels around the globe teaching lifesaving skills to children and young adults.

First responders witness traumatic events every day and Maxi shares some of his experiences with both devastating and positive outcomes. This discussion contains very sensitive and graphic content around the topic of suicide so should this episode trigger you in any way, please take care of yourself and disengage if you need to. 



[5:00]: The types of rescue operations that Maxi is involved in as a firefighter and lifeguard and how everything he does is centered around helping people and saving lives

[7:00]: Maxi talks about his first day as a lifeguard at age 15 and his introduction to resuscitation when a young man jumped off a cliff.

[10:12]: How Maxi’s intense first day made him question if it was the career for him

[12:00]: The notorious suicide spot in Sydney called The Gap which claims the lives of 1 person a day and the vital role lifeguards play on a busy beach like Bondi

[13:30]: How the fast pace of rescue work doesn’t allow for him to dwell on events and the importance of peer support and counselling in dealing with the constant tragedies

[15:00]: How running is one of the best things for Maxi and is a really great way for him to destress.

[16:45]: Maxi shares some stories of rescues where he was able to save people’s lives and how the job changes so much from day to day

[18:45]: Every day is a learning curve, how Maxi tries to maintain an attitude of always learning and that his outlook inspires the team around him

[20:20]: How the tragic events Maxi has witnessed inspired him to start Live Learn Survive and how he has 9 books that he wants to write to keep bringing awareness

[21:30]: How Maxi does what he does because he loves it, not because of any praise he receives. 

[22:30]: Becoming a firefighter is really difficult. Maxi applied every year from age 18 and was knocked back until age 24.

[23:30]: Maxi’s advice for anyone pursuing a first responder job and that it’s important to prepare well in advance and stay persistent 

[26:00]: How mindset is vital and that we create our own path so if you really want something, you can achieve it

[27:00]: How Maxi’s dream started with an email requesting to do work experience at Bondi Beach which led to his traineeship, certification in fitness and eventual path into firefighting

[29:40]: How asking for help can be the catalyst for great opportunities in your life but you need to take on the responsibility yourself and not expect other people to do everything for you

[31:20]: The importance of surrounding yourself with people who bring out the best in you and that you have to keep believing in yourself even when you get knocked back

[33:00]: Maxi talks about his stress management routine which includes physical exercise, good diet, quality sleep and surrounding himself with happy people

[34:00]: How Covid has impacted the hospitality and entertainment industry but you can always find other opportunities

[35:00]: Even on the hard days, Maxi comes back to why he’s doing what he’s doing and that his work is inspiring others to come out of their shell to pursue their dreams

[35:45]: How during the counselling sessions, first responders will debrief about the events of the day and inevitably talk about other personal things that they didn’t realise were bothering them

[36:45]: The absolute tragedies and awful scenes that first responders see and how they treat each body with respect so they can be laid to rest

[38:00]: The youngest suicide Maxi was called to and how he tries not to look at the face of the people he’s helping so that he can keep a barrier up to help him do his job

[40:00]: The many people Sam has talked to who have tried to take their lives and that there is always another way. Life is for living!

[42:00]: Maxi’s advice to anyone struggling and that you’re not alone. Do things you love doing and remember it’s not a bad life, just a bad day.

[43:30]: How often people make a decision to end their life in a bad moment but they regret making the decision seconds after.



Website: https://www.lifeguardmaxi.com.au/

Instagram: @lifeguardmaxi


Facebook: @lifeguardmaxi

Thanks for listening to another episode of It Ain’t Weak to Speak with Sam Webb. Please rate the podcast and leave a review if you enjoyed it. 

Click here to leave a review & rate our show!


If after listening to this episode and you don't quite feel right or you want to reach out to someone to speak to, we have provided some useful resources below. 

For immediate support please call one of the following 24/7 hotlines. Someone will be ready to take your call. Remember, ‘It Ain’t Weak to Speak’


If you are in Australia:


Emergency: 000

Lifeline: 13 11 14

+6Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800


If you are in the United States:


Emergency: 911

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text LIVIN to 741741 in the United States


If you would prefer to speak with someone face-to-face, we recommend visiting your local GP (doctor) who will be able to have a chat with you about what is going on in your life and refer you to a mental health professional if required.

For some tools to help you with things like stress, low mood, general worries, please check out our LIVIN tips and tricks here.

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