Keen to meet new and interesting people, develop your skills, and lend a helping hand to your community? The Rural Fire Service wants you!
Gulf Savannah NRM recently sat down in Mareeba with First Officer of Davies Creek Rural Fire Brigade Barry Keal. A local and highly experienced firefighter, Barry has been a training officer with urban and rural fire brigades since 2003.
Barry told us that while donations are helpful and appreciated, the biggest challenge the Rural Fire Service faces these days is recruiting new people to come help, especially young people and women.
“The average age of our volunteers would be around the fifties. We are lucky in the Davies Creek Brigade because we’ve just recruited four young blokes who are in their twenties to join our station, so that will boost us a lot,” Barry says. “More women are getting interested, but much more so down south and in the urban service than here. It would be good to see more getting involved — volunteering in the Rural Fire Service is not just for blokes.”
Fighting fires isn’t the only way you can help out, either. There are roles for everyone, regardless of age or ability.
“You can be what we call a support member. That could include radio operator, arranging to be at community events like rodeos, or other behind the scenes roles. There is a role for community educators too.”
“We’re out there doing it as the community, for the community,” says Barry. “We are volunteers, so there’s no money in it for us — but there is a lot of good will and a lot of good times.”
Have you thought about volunteering in your rural fire brigade? Go to qfes.qld.gov.au or get in touch with your local fire warden to find out how.
Read the rest of Barry’s interview in our latest Croaker: