Houston, We Have a Problem. The last offering from the Tuross Head Rural Fire Brigade sought to clarify fire preparation and emergency procedures so that we might all be prepared should Tuross Head find itself downwind of an out of control bushfire. True, such a catastrophe has never impacted our town, but that’s due more to the fact that to date, we simply haven’t had a fire of the size and intensity of that which impacted Tathra. The aerial photos we recently had on display at the Easter Fair provoked considerable discussion as those we chatted with saw the fire prone land north, west and south of our town. With this in mind, the brigade conducted a recruitment morning at the fire station in Drake Street on 28 th April. The aim was to showcase the equipment we have at our disposal and show it in action as members went through their paces in several scenarios. In the fortnight leading up to Saturday 28th April, there were flyers in the Tuross shops, interviews given on local commercial and ABC radio, as well as articles in The Beagle and Bay Post/Moruya Examiner. On the day, however, had it not been for three elderly neighbors of one Brigade member and two members’ partners, the day was not attended by any prospective members. This is a bewildering outcome. Does it mean that the Tuross community feels quite confident that “someone else will do it?” (That’s far from sustainable as current members get older!) Does it mean that we really are sufficiently complacent to think “a Tathra fire would never happen here?” (The Bushfire Prone Land maps we can show you might convince you otherwise!) Does it mean that we are thinking volunteers and vehicles from “somewhere else” will come to our rescue? (In a critical situation, a rapid response can mean the difference between saving houses and lives or not) Does it mean we’re thinking “I’m not in the bushfire prone area, it’s not my problem, and I don’t need to worry?” (The recent Tathra fire showed us that houses four and five back from the fire prone land were lost) Does it mean we’re thinking “I’d like to help but I don’t want to work on the ground in afire?” (Support roles – radio communications, fund raising etc.- are just as important to free firefighters who currently do these tasks as well) Tuross Head Rural Fire Brigade currently has 21 active members prepared to attend structure fires, motor vehicle accidents, bushfires and hazard reduction work. We are tasked to incidents both within our community and further afield. Some members are retired, others working and busy with young families but when the pager goes off or a callout officer rings around to see who can attend an away fire or a hazard reduction burn, we have so far always managed to crew both trucks whenever required. But for the Brigade to be sustainable, there needs to be new volunteers stepping forward as older members step back from active firefighting. Should the Tuross brigade ever reach the point where, for lack of members, it cannot respond to a local fire call, we have a real problem. Consider that we can usually respond within ten minutes of the pager call. If it’s your house we’re responding to, we can be there and at work until Fire and Rescue arrive from Moruya with their CABA equipment. If there’s no local brigade as first responders, the 20-30 minutes Fire and Rescue will take to get here from Moruya could well be the difference between saving your house and simply making sure the houses on either side don’t catch fire from the remains of yours! Within our beautiful Eurobodalla, an enormous amount of work is done by volunteers, and it’s one of the many aspects that makes this such a wonderful place to live, whether it’s as retirees, parents with young families or simply folk choosing to live beyond the confines of the big cities. Our community transport, hospital auxiliary, emergency services, surf lifesaving, the wide range of sporting groups and many other facets of life in Eurobodalla, are all sustained by volunteers. So if you feel you’d like to put something back into the community and make a difference to the world around you, please consider coming along to the fire station to talk to volunteers and brigade officers. We train every Wednesday from 6-7:00 pm with a barbecue to follow. The station is in Drake Street, near the water towers between Trafalgar and Craddock Roads. You’ll be welcomed whether you feel you’d like to be involved in operations on the fire ground or, just as importantly, one of the many support roles. “Please consider.” Peter Cole THRFB Secretary May 2018
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