Michael Tisbury AFSM

Firefighter, anti-PFAS campaigner

2024 VIC Australian of the Year Nominee

Michael Tisbury AFSM has a saying: Firefighters never give up. For more than a decade he’s worked to expose the dangers of PFAS contamination for firefighters, which is linked to cancer and other conditions. 

As a union delegate, it took him three exhausting years to force a Victorian parliamentary inquiry in 2014 into PFAS chemicals in fire-fighting foam.  

He also devised a way to decontaminate firetrucks and, remarkably, to reduce levels of these dangerous ‘forever chemicals’ in people’s blood.  

Michael’s ‘aha’ moment was in 2016, after blood tests showed he had higher PFAS levels than his colleagues. He wondered if his colleagues had given blood/plasma. He then developed a clinical trial, which confirmed donating plasma could reduce PFAS levels by 30 per cent in a year.  

In 2019, Michael was awarded an Australian Fire Service Medal for his efforts. He is now Assistant Chief Fire Officer at Fire Rescue Victoria.