Volunteer firefighters ready for first bushfire season

Volunteer firefighters ready for first bushfire season

02 January 2011

published by media-newswire.com

Australia — Nearly 1,300 new CFA volunteers will join Victoria’s operational firefighting efforts this summer after completing training in fighting wildfires, Minister for Bushfire Response and Leader of The Nationals Peter Ryan said today.

Mr Ryan praised the commitment of Victoria’s new volunteer recruits and said the latest recruit intake would strengthen CFA’s preparedness this bushfire season.

“All operational volunteers complete about four months of wildfire firefighter training before they can step on to a fireground,” Mr Ryan said.

“Specialist training ensures volunteers have skills in firefighting, radio communications and know how to look after their own safety when fighting fires.

“Other skills covered in wildfire firefighter training include understanding fire behavior, operating pumps, operating tankers and working in a team.”

Mr Ryan said CFA volunteers were vital to Victoria’s firefighting efforts and protecting bushfire-prone communities.

“Volunteer firefighters give up their time and risk their own safety protecting others,” Mr Ryan said.

Mr Ryan said community members also played a key role in preventing bushfires and encouraged all Victorians to be prepared and have their own bushfire plan in place to prevent a potential tragedy.

Among the 1,300 CFA newly-trained volunteers is Neil Reid, who recently completed wildfire firefighter training at the Wallan Brigade. “Everybody thinks you can just jump on the back of a fire truck, but there are so many little things that are important to learn – from looking after your own safety to handling a fire hose. This training taught me life-saving basic skills and how to apply them,” Mr Reid said.

CFA has almost 60,000 volunteers, of whom more than 36,000 are operational.

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