Welcome our new firies
By AARON BERTRAM
ELEVEN recruits for the North Coast Rural Fire Service (NCRFS) passed their assessments on Saturday but, as welcome as the new recruits are, the numbers are not enough, according to Group Captain Rex Kemp.
Apart from bush fires, the NCRFS also deals with fire safety at car accident sites, vehicle fires and structural fires.
"We look after 93 per cent of the area of NSW," Capt Kemp said.
"We do everything the guys in the cities do."
Many of the 11 volunteers who passed their assessments on Saturday said living in the bush was their main reason for joining the service.
Daniel, 16, of Federal, joined up as soon as he could.
"I thought it would be a good way to help the community," he said.
"I was at my grandparents' house in Canberra when the fires hit in 2003.
"I was filling gutters with water and spraying down the house up until we had to be evacuated.
"The fire ended up coming one metre from the house."
Long-time SES volunteer Brooke Larance, 23, of Lennox Head, joined up not only to flesh out her resume as a local hero, but to help her get a foot in the door with the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).
"The course we do here is nationally accredited," she said.
"You have to have fire training to be a ranger, so this is a really good course to do.
The newbies went through a series of drills at the assessment day, including hosing and water supply techniques, communication and skills on the pump.
They also sat a theory test.
"After this basic training, they go back to their brigade and get their uniforms," Capt Kemp said.
"It won't be too long before they have to use their new skills."
Mr Kemp said the Service was keen to get lots more volunteers aboard, particularly as numbers have slipped in recent years.
"We're after anyone who's keen to give a little bit back," he said.