Peter Davies and Julie Heilbronn after the recent fires
Peter Davies and Julie Heilbronn after the recent fires

Call for more Rural Fire Fighter volunteers

RURAL Fire Fighters need better resources and more manpower to enable them to be more efficient in the job they do to help rural residents keep their properties safe from fire hazards is the resounding feedback from fire affected property owners across the region.

Julie Heilbronn was one of many who lost her home in the recent bush fires that swept the region and she knows better than most that our volunteer fire fighters need a hand.

“These volunteers are amazing, they put their lives on the line to help others and it is all done with minimal support, often with the volunteers putting their own hand in their pocket for expenses,” Julie said.

“Prior to the recent bush fires we had contacted our local rural fire fighters to conduct a hazard burn of excess debris, some of which was left over from Cyclone Marcia.

“While they were happy to help out, that fire hazard burn never did happen. It was cancelled so many times due to high winds, rain and time availability.

“I have friends in the Rural Fire brigade and know they are truly stretched for resources.

“Most have full time employment outside their volunteer work and can’t just up and leave their job to help, these things have to be planned and of course we can’t change the weather.”

Julie said she is aware of how limited their resources are with both manpower and money for equipment and the like.

“Most Rural Fire Fighters have to make do with what fundraising they can manage and could do with more funds being invested to ease the load.

“Likewise, more people volunteering to help would ease the burden on those already dedicating their time to this amazing service.

“Let’s remember, without the Rural Fire Services and the volunteers who operate them, we are in dire straits.”

Livingstone Mayor Bill Ludwig commended the amazing work by all emergency Service workers and volunteers in the latest round of bushfires.

“There were instances in the recent fires where crews worked in excess of 27 hours without a break just to ensure that fire vehicles and vital firefighting equipment remained manned through the critical phases of the fight to save properties and protect lives,” Cr Ludwig said.

“This is far from an ideal situation, it is absolutely imperative that able bodied people consider joining the ranks of volunteers to help keep our community safe.

“There are also other support roles that people who are not as abled bodied can play through volunteering.

“This about our community pulling together and everybody playing a part in this critical area of keeping the community safe.

“The role of the firefighting volunteer than responding to emergency, it is also about assistance with fire fuel reduction and land management outside the fire season that will go a long way to preventing major bush fire events.”

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