Australia — If Collie’s bushfire brigade does not get more volunteers in the lead-up to summer, its fleet of trucks may be decreased.
Bushfire Advisory Committee chairman Gary Benton said at a recent committee meeting, a concern was raised by fire units about the level of volunteers.
Collie Shire chief bushfire control officer Terry Hunter said there was an apparent apathy within the community that there would always be the equipment and personnel to manage fires, but this was not the case. He said if more volunteers did not come forward, there was a risk the seven bush fire trucks currently stationed throughout the Collie Shire would decrease, as they were assigned based on the number of staff required to use them.
Mr Hunter said volunteers needed to be prepared to undergo training because without it they could be a liability in a fire situation. Training includes fire safety, awareness and behaviour, as well as some night time training to become familiar with appliances. They also attend controlled burns so they can gain experience in dealing with fire in bush and grass situations. It takes about five hours to complete the basic training, with further training at the discretion of the fire captain.
Mr Hunter said the truck in Preston Road was currently at the greatest risk, as it needed three firefighters from the Preston area to operate, but was mostly used by people travelling to it from the Collie townsite.
An awareness evening was held on Saturday night in Collieburn-Cardiff, with about 40 people attending. Three of these people had previous firefighting experience.
Those interested in volunteering should contact the fire control officer in their area with the numbers available in the Collie Local Link.