The battle to strengthen summer’s army


The battle to strengthen summer’s army

19 July 2013

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Australia — The New South Wales Rural Fire Service forms the frontline defence for communities from bushfires.

But, with an ageing workforce, the hunt is on for young people to get involved and help the organisation protect properties, communities and lives when danger strikes.

The Captain of the Spring Hill-Huntley brigade, near Orange, Stephanie Huysmans says the RFS needs young people to join so they can continue their operations into the future.

“Young people are the future of this organisation,” she says.

“It’s really important for young people to get out there and start doing this sort of stuff.

“We need as many young people as we can get to start with our succession planning.

“It’s very crucial that they’re part of the organisation,” Huysmans says.

Huysmans says there are a variety of roles young people can do in the RFS, from front-line fire fighting to behind-the-scenes work.

Huysmans says being a fire fighter with the RFS can be exceptionally challenging.

“At the time it’s quite nerve-racking and can be highly stressful.

“Seeing the devastation that it does cause to land and home owners is very tough.

“Although we all know what our job is and what we need to do; and that’s to protect the community, so that’s what we’re out to do,” Huysmans says.

14 year-old Lachlan McCann says giving back to the community was a major reason behind why he joined the RFS.

“I just thought it’d be good to get involved with and they needed younger members, so I thought I’d get a bit active with it,” he says.

“The people that aren’t very enthusiastic about it need to be more enthusiastic.

“By starting to get some people into it, hopefully we’ll start a chain reaction of some sort.”

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