Extinguishing flames is just one part of the job for these firefighters, who are increasing their training for another significant aspect of the role - snake handling. At Fire &amp; Rescue NSW's Menai station, a small group of firies are gearing up for a different type of practice, and it comes with a slithering sense of danger. Four of the crew recently attended snake training to further enhance capabilities in relation to snake incidents in Sutherland Shire. Menai and Bundeena has crews already on standby to respond should the need arise, but additional training means more teams are prepared to catch and release snakes. In conjunction with WIRES, crews work together to learn how to safely manage snakes, when one happens to find its way into a house. Firefighters Carly McLachlan, Matt Burgess, David Finley from Menai station and Jodie Riach from Bundeena, recently added improved snake handling skills to their resume. Menai station captain Brady Clarke, said it was a fantastic opportunity. "Animal rescue and assisting the WIRES team to deliver this important response is one of our passions," he said. "We've now trained up additional staff to top the numbers up for those who have retired or transferred. "It's really crucial because we get calls all the time from people saying they have a snake in their house. To have that capability to remove it and release it into the adjoining bushland or relocate it, is a good skill set to have for our communities." From venomous red belly and eastern browns, to tiger snakes or more harmless diamond python or tree snakes, they've seen the lot. "One of our recent callouts was for a small red belly curled up under a bed," Mr Clarke said. "Another was at a school, where an electrician found one in the fuse box in the main administration building. "You're very apprehensive when you first come up against a snake but when you're doing it over and over again...it becomes second nature and you can certainly read the behaviour of the animal." Training includes first aid if bitten, bandage wrapping, how to approach a snake, and how to safely place the snake into the bag. Luckily, none of the crew have been bitten. Mr Clarke said people should remember snakes just want to get away. "Particularly red bellies - they don't want to be anywhere near you," he said. "Snakes are going to dwindle away now as it gets cooler," he said. "But come summer we will have those capabilities ramped up." This month also marks 24 years since Mr Clarke became a firefighter, with most of his career spent in Sutherland Shire. "It's had a big impact on my life being in a job like this," he said. "It's rewarding to help people. I've been to to everything from the Waterfall train disaster derailment, to motor vehicles accidents, fatalities, concern for welfare jobs, house and factory fires, and animal rescues." Want more local news? Sign up for your free weekly newsletter.