23 April, 2024

Bracing for a blaze

Local fire brigades are urgently seeking new recruits as they undertake recruitment drives and bushfire safety lessons ahead of “higher bushfire risks” in the coming months.

By Liam Hauser

Bracing for a blaze - feature photo

Safety and staff will be the focus as a community engagement event takes place at the Kilcoy Visitor Information Centre from 6.30pm next Wednesday (May 1).

Villeneuve RFB secretary, Jacob Murphy, who is also a Volunteer Community Educator, said parts of Kilcoy and the surrounding rural areas were currently considered at a “higher bushfire risk”.

“While conditions are green and damp this early in the year from the recent rain events, fuel loads from this growth will certainly contribute to increased fire behaviour and risk this upcoming fire season,” he said.

“For property owners and landholders to act, we need to be able to give them the right information to make preparations and help enable a better understanding of the risk.”

The Bushfire Preparedness Information Hub and recruitment session will be run by the Stanley River Rural Fire Brigade (RFB) Group, which represents the Mount Kilcoy/Sandy Creek, Hazeldean, Villeneuve, Stoney Creek, Stanmore, Ten Mile and Bellthorpe RFBs.

Bushfire survival plans, fire danger ratings, permits and restrictions, and how to prepare one’s home and property for the fi re season will be among the things to learn.

Additionally, anyone aged 16 and beyond who is interested to become a volunteer firefighter is invited to come along and discuss what to do to join the Rural Fire Service (RFS).

“Those who live in Kilcoy or the surroundings who are considering giving back to the community and volunteering are encouraged to attend,” Mr Murphy said.

“There are at least three brigades close to Kilcoy, (and) we’re wanting to bolster our numbers ahead of this spring and are continuing to invest in developing the skills of our people.”

Meanwhile, the program designed to upskill new recruits in Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Foundation Skills and Firefighter Minimum Skills is up and running at Villeneuve.

A number of young volunteers from Kilcoy State High School, alongside new recruits from brigades in the area, have been meeting on Wednesdays to hone their skills and consolidate their training.

This will culminate in October with the achievement of Certificate II Public Safety (Firefighting Operations).

Program facilitator, Graham King, said he was always pleased to see new faces and to mentor new volunteer firefighters.

Mr King said volunteering with the RFS was like joining another family.


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