Kiama Fire Station is looking for more fit, community-minded people to join its ranks as retained (paid, on-call) firefighters.
Captain Terry Dryburgh is encouraging residents from all walks of life to consider becoming a retained firefighter if they reside within a reasonable distance from the Fire Station and are available during the week.
“We guarantee we will attend within 10 minutes of getting an emergency call,” he says. “People need to be able to get here very quickly to make up the crew of four that is needed.”
The Kiama Station is run entirely by a team of 18 retained firefighters, two of whom are women. When not a fireman, Captain Dryburgh is an electrician at Blue Scope.
Brendan McNeil, who has been part of his team for two and a half years, is a farm manager. He enjoys being a part-time fireman. “There is great training, and there
is always something going on,” he says.
Retained firefighters are on-call from home or work to respond to fires and other emergencies. Apart from being on-call and participating in on-going training, the retained firefighters share responsibility for the maintenance of the equipment and the station. New recruits need to be able to attend intensive training workshops
“We urgently need women and men with availability between 8am and 4pm Monday to Friday to join our retained firefighters. Your local fire station relies on people in the community to put their hand up to become firefighters – without that support fire stations like these cannot survive.
“Retained firefighters are on-call, however this does not mean that you have to be available every minute of every day,” Captain Dryburgh says.
“Sharing availability with other retained firefighters can reduce any potential impact on work and private life.”
The firefighters receive a modest retainer and are paid for the hours they are rostered on, respond to calls or do training.
Captain Dryburgh says training includes advanced first aid, heavy vehicle driving, and how to deal with emergencies such as fires, road accidents and hazardous material spills. Firefighters also educate the community on fire safety and prevention.
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter says retained firefighters play a critical role in the delivery of fire and emergency services across regional and rural NSW.
“You don’t need to be superman or superwoman to be a firefighter – we want people who are reliable and keen to help others, especially local residents who are available to respond to emergencies during the day,” he said.
“If you’re a local employer, think about encouraging your staff to become firefighters. Not only will you be helping the community, but your staff will be trained in a whole range of skills.”
Details: For information on becoming a retained firefighter, visit www.fire.nsw.gov.au