TUROSS HEAD RURAL FIRE BRIGADE August Newsletter
Let’s start this newsletter with a local knowledge quiz question, perhaps best answered by observant Tuross dog walkers, runners or drivers who use Drake Street as a shortcut from Craddock to Trafalgar: WHAT’S HAPPENING AT THE FIRE SHED??
It's happening - the old shed is going!
To save you the trouble of going to look, a clue is included here. After 33 years, the current fire station in Drake Street is scheduled for demolition and replacement with a new, bigger shed which can accommodate the new Category 1 fire truck. It won’t fit in the current shed!
Plans are before council at the moment but the hope is that we’ll be in the new shed before the summer fire season. Readers might be interested to learn that the shed from which the VRA/Marine Rescue operate their very successful annual garage sale was originally the Tuross fire shed and the one fire truck fitted in what is really only a large garage. How times (and the size of fire vehicles) change!
With the vehicles under cover in the new shed, there will be lots of work (and fund raising) to re-establish all the ancillary facilities and equipment that keep the brigade functioning: work benches, change area, station-to-vehicle radio station and charging facility, kitchen, training space, equipment storage to mention a few. And while the demolition/construction phase is under way, plans are being put in place to house the vehicles where they can be accessed to maintain Tuross Head’s proud tradition of the past fifty six years. The brigade faces a busy but productive time over the next few months
With a proud 56 year tradition of serving the Tuross community, some of our members are getting older (some of us much older!). We all assume that if it’s OUR house on fire, the brigade will be there to help. At Tuross RFB, we pride ourselves in having a response time of around fifteen minutes. That’s fifteen minutes from pager going off or text message received to being at an incident in Tuross village. But if brigade members become too old to turn out to a fire call, Moruya is the brigade likely to be called. With a twenty minute drive from Moruya, the QUICKEST you can expect a fire vehicle to attend your property is 30-40 minutes. Now , stop reading this and go off to Google or YouTube to find some video footage of what a house fire looks like when left to its own devices for 30-40 minutes. We need younger members. It’s as simple as that.
And, yes, I know, when you’re in your twenties and thirties, you have children, mortgages and work pressures. But so did the twenty year olds who started the brigade in 1961. We old buggers are not going to walk away just yet, but I guess what I’m saying is that it’s time to look at passing the baton so that the valuable work of being there for our community when the crisis comes, can continue. We need younger blood to take up the challenge.
One of our youngest members is Chelsea Veitch. Chelsea completed her Basic Firefighting training when in Year 11 at Moruya High and is now in her third year with the brigade. She recently attended a three-day conference in Wollongong, the NSW RFS Leadership and Young Members Forum, representing Eurobodalla. Chelsea came back with a clear message, “Young people are the future of the RFS.”
Chelsea Veitch, THRFB member, with NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons at the recent NSW RFS Leadership and Young Members Forum
At our brigade meeting this week, I interviewed Chelsea and asked what she felt was needed to be a fire fighter. “You definitely need a sense of humor. You need to be happy to get dirty and don’t mind being hot and tired,” she said.
And when I asked what she felt she gained from her time with the brigade, her answer was interesting:
“There’s a mix of ages in the brigade and it’s a great opportunity to learn to communicate and work with people of all ages and backgrounds on an equal footing,” she responded.
“I’ve gained skills and confidence, and it can be a stepping stone to other things.”
“But,” Chelsea added, “Perhaps best of all, it’s great to help the community you live in.”
When we talked about the commitment involved with training and callouts (brigade training is Wednesday evenings and the first Saturday morning of each month, and with each level of training there is training for several evenings and usually a weekend at the Mogo Training Centre), Chelsea made a very good point: “We are volunteers, after all, and the RFS comes third after family, and work.”
So there you have it. If you would like to carry on the baton of providing one of the volunteer services our community relies on, come and talk to us. While we have a fire shed, we train every Wednesday evening from 6:00 to 7:00pm with an informal barbecue afterwards for which some members stay around. Come along and have a chat. You’ll be made welcome!