Average age of region's volunteer firefighters is 57

THE past few weeks have left rural firefighter Waine Scott feeling burnt out.

The 57-year-old Cooberrie Park Rural Fire Brigade volunteer said the job could be exhausting.

"Last week we had the fire at Woodbury, we were out there from 8.30am on Tuesday to 2am on Wednesday, then went back to my paid job, and went out again on Wednesday. On Thursday I had the night shift at Byfield... and 12 hours on Saturday," he said.

"In 2007 we did 16 days straight, doing 12 to 16-hour days."

The St Brendan's College manual arts teacher said volunteering was worth it.

He made the decision to join the service in 1984 to help out the region.

His community spirit seemed to be catching, as wife Janet and both his daughters have also joined the service.

Janet is the secondary treasurer of the brigade.

His daughters joined when they were aged 16, and more than a decade on remain in the rural fire brigade.

Waine said their commitment to the service was a point of pride, but felt they were the exception to the rule.

"The eldest person in the service is in his 70s, but I'm 57 and that's about the average age of members... that's a big problem," he said.

"I train for the Fire and Rescue Service. There's a huge turnover in the younger generations...they join and two years later they're gone again. My daughters are the odd ones out because they started and stuck with it."

Despite this, Waine said the brigade managed just fine.

"We've only got small numbers, but we always manage to turn both trucks out. I'd rather have people that you can rely on," he said.



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