WHEN you're fighting fires, having the right equipment can be the difference between life and death.
So when members of the Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade arrived at their shed yesterday morning to find cowardly thieves had broken in between 8pm on Tuesday and 1am yesterday and stolen vital firefighting equipment, they were devastated.
Cawarral Rural Fire Brigade first officer John McDonald said the break-in was a big blow to the brigade, especially leading into one of the worst predicted fire seasons in history.
"We've had roughly $10,000 to $15,000 worth of gear stolen. So far we've found that they've stolen two Yamaha generators, a 556 Husqvarna chainsaw still in the box, three Navmans, two Kestrel weather meters, a handheld GPS, a laptop, computer tower, screen, keyboard and speakers, two external hard drives and a 15,000kg snatch strap," Mr McDonald said.
"We've had 19 wildfires this month alone.
"We're all volunteers. Everything in here is funded by the Cawarral and Mt Chalmers community.
"Sometimes insurance companies aren't really quick and fires don't wait for insurance companies."
Mr McDonald said it was even more disheartening to discover the brigade's new chainsaw had been stolen.
"The chainsaw was donated by the social club from the Treehouse Tavern for our work throughout Cyclone Marcia," he said.
"We collected and put it in the shed on Tuesday afternoon and the next morning it was gone.
"If we're trying to get into someone's place (and) there are trees over the road, if we haven't got it we can't get there and that could mean losing a house or losing a life.
"The items stolen were valuable for firefighting and it may be their homes we will save in the end."
Anyone who can assist police is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
Anyone wanting to volunteer with Cawarral can visit http://www.ruralfire.qld.gov.au.
- Yamaha generator 2400 watt, Yamaha generator 1850 watt, 556 Husqvarna chainsaw still in the box, Navman x 3, Kestrel Weather Meters x 2
- Handheld GPS x 1
- Computer tower, screen, keyboard, speakers
- External hard drives x 2
- Laptop x 1
- 15,000kg snatch strap