MORE SUPPORT: Auxiliary fire crews are calling for more assistance in some Southern Downs communities, following a drop in new recruits. Picture: Zizi Averill
MORE SUPPORT: Auxiliary fire crews are calling for more assistance in some Southern Downs communities, following a drop in new recruits. Picture: Zizi Averill

Firey’s urgent push for more small town recruits

THE lack of new auxiliary firefighter recruits at some Southern Downs stations has been labelled "disappointing" by the region's recruitment officer.

A decline in numbers has largely been seen at stations in Allora, Wallangarra, Clifton and Killarney where call-outs are far more sporadic.

According to Southern Downs recruitment officer Jenny Cooper, auxiliary crews in smaller communities are made up of "close to a dozen" firefighters.

Miss Cooper said there were several factors limiting new recruits from wanting to join.

"A lot of the reason is due to the fact that they don't get as many jobs and it's harder to keep people interested," Miss Cooper said.

"And sometimes their employers don't let them leave during the working day.

"It's really disappointing, especially in small communities who want to help."

Employed on a part-time basis, auxiliary firefighters are required to do "bread and butter jobs" that permeant firefighters also complete.

Attending everything from houses fires to car crashes, Miss Cooper said some eager recruits weren't aware of the gruelling nature of the job.

"We do get people that want to come on board but some people aren't suitable because they might live to far away or they don't know what jobs we do - it can be pretty hard work and gruesome," she said.

"And you have to be ready to go in an instant."

With jobs lasting anywhere from 15 minutes to several hours, Miss Cooper hoped more recruits and their employers would be willing to join.

"Let's say (firefighters) are needed twice a month, and these jobs they're going to during the day can last anywhere from five minutes to several hours," she said.

"But the majority of jobs are really quick.

"It shouldn't be something that's hard to ask especially in small communities, you'd think it's acceptable to perform that duty for your town."

Those who are interested in joining an auxiliary firefighting crew are urged to head to their local station and join in on a training session.

 

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