Brigades have resumed regular scheduled training across the Southern Tablelands Zone as social distancing guidelines ease allowing for more hands-on training at local Brigades. With new safety and social distancing guidelines in place, Brigade training is well underway for bushfire season 2020/21 bolstered by nearly 100 new recruits who have joined local Brigades in the months since the devastation of last summer.
“The community would not have noticed any change in terms of emergency response, but behind the scenes, our volunteers have really had to rise up to the challenge of providing a fire service in the Covid19 world,” said Operational Officer Lachlan Gilchrist.
Local Brigades have seen large numbers of new volunteers in the months since the catastrophic fire season of 2019/20 with over 100 new volunteers joining Brigades throughout the Southern Tablelands, although this enthusiasm has thrown up some new challenges during the Covid19 pandemic.
Lachlan Gilchrist said, “When people join the Rural Fire Service, we want to welcome them with open arms into our Brigades but social distancing guidelines has meant it’s been a bit more arm’s length which is very different for a community-based organisation like ours, we can’t thank them enough for their patience over the last few months”.
There have also been some other noticeable benefits from a return to training. “I don’t think we can overstate the social good that Brigades have played and continue to play throughout this isolating time, I think it’s been enormously valuable for people to connect to their community and you can see that in the faces of our volunteers at training, this is important” said Lachlan Gilchrist.
If you are thinking about joining the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, contact your local Brigade Zone Office on 02 6226 3100 or go to www.rfs.nsw.gov.au