Volunteer firefighters worth $1.8m per week

Fire hose valves on Benaraby Rural Fire Brigade's fire fighting vehicle. Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer
Fire hose valves on Benaraby Rural Fire Brigade's fire fighting vehicle. Photo Luka Kauzlaric / The Observer Luka Kauzlaric

A WEEK of work from CQ volunteer firefighters can be worth $1.8 million.

The 3152 Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland's Central Queensland members can spend up to 20 hours a week labouring in a range of roles.

With Volunteering Queensland estimating the value of unpaid work at $28.99 an hour, the 2376 men and 776 women from all walks of life and across all ages will complete up to unpaid work valued at $579.80 each week during peak periods - that's a collective $1,827,529.

The region covers Gladstone and Rockhampton.

Today many of the volunteers, their supporters and Queensland MPs will wear a yellow ribbon to raise awareness of the sacrifice.

RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said without unpaid firefighters and the brigades, communities would cease to exist.

"There are more than 257,000 volunteer firefighters across Australia, and more emergencies across the country are dealt with by volunteers than part-time or full-time firefighters," he said.

"If it was not for the butcher, baker, grazier and candlestick makers who volunteer to train and defend their communities then many of those communities and towns would not be sustainable.

"As a community organisation, many rural fire brigades reflect the community defence needs that arise locally, from hazard reduction burning, responding to bushfires,  road accident rescue, supporting SES volunteers in searching for missing people, cyclone and flood recovery, the list is endless."

Mr Choveaux said volunteers were needed across a range of areas, from incident control roles to support members, communication specialist, air base operators and community educators.

"Everyone has something to offer, as fire fighting is a small component of what rural fire brigades do for their communities," he said.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Jack Dempsey thanked the region's brigade members

"During a major incident or natural disaster, these men and women volunteer their own time, away from family and friends, to support their communities," he said.

Fire Numbers

Central Queensland

Gender, Average age, number, ratio of male to female

Female: 51.8, 776, 0.25

Male: 51.3, 2376, 0.75

Total: 3152


Volunteer value

The average volunteer hour is worth $28.99

If a firefighter works for 20 hours that equals $579.80

If the 3152 central Queensland volunteers all serve 20 hours in one week that's worth $1,827,529.

Source: Rural Fire Brigades Association Queensland; Volunteering Queensland


-APN Newsdesk

Topics:  rural fire volunteering

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