FIRED UP: Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade member Gael Hardsman will wear a yellow ribbon to help raise awareness of the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland Central Queensland volunteers’ efforts.
FIRED UP: Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade member Gael Hardsman will wear a yellow ribbon to help raise awareness of the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland Central Queensland volunteers’ efforts. Allan Reinikka Rokaruralfi

Gael fires up in an emergency to help Rockhampton

IT TAKES a lot to get Gael Hardsman fired up - but floods, bushfires, storms and saving her neighbours will usually do the trick.

She is among 3152 Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland Central Queensland volunteers who put their lives on the line every time there's a natural disaster in the region.

MORE: Volunteer firefighters worth $1.8m per week

Today she will wear a yellow ribbon to help raise awareness of the volunteers' effort.

The mother of four has been in the Rockhampton brigade for nine years.

And with three children also donning the orange overalls, her passion has become a family affair.

"All three are either active firefighters or have been active firefighters but are now taking some time out to raise children of their own - our next generation of firefighters," Mrs Hardsman said.

"My daughter volunteered me to the brigade to undertake the position of treasurer.

"She knew that I wanted to give something back to the community and the brigade offers that and it is something that my whole family can be involved in."

Alongside her commitment to the brigade, Mrs Hardsman, who is semi-retired, juggles casual work as a professional counsellor, rural fire instructing and running a farm.

She has played many roles with the RFBAQ - treasurer, firefighter, volunteer community educator, peer support officer, RFBAQ representative and assistant training officer.

And when it comes to joining the frontline, nothing holds Mrs Hardsman said.

"I think our brigade has contributed to every disaster in this area and many outside the area," she said.

"We also work closely with other agencies such as the SES."

Mrs Hardsman said volunteers were vital to the community.

-APN Newsdesk



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