Hi Folks, well for this foray into the life of the Doonan Rural Fire Brigade we have concentrated on some of our other volunteers who, while not being in the thick of things all the time, do a most valuable job.
I hope you find it informative.
“Doonan 91 – mobile on VCE business in local area, crew of two”.
That’s the radio call to Firecom from Anne and Kerry as they head out from the Doonan Fire Station to a property advice visit nearby.
Anne Schofield and Kerry Hermence are both firefighters with the Doonan Rural Fire Brigade and both of them are volunteer community educators (VCE).
VCEs are members of their local brigade who educate the community about bushfire safety and work with local fire wardens to help locals get ready for the coming bushfire season.
Since the tragedy of the Victorian bushfires in 2009, rural fire agencies around Australia have revised some of the ways we respond to fire and how we can assist landholders and communities to better protect themselves in the future.
In Queensland, this meant new arrangements for fire danger periods, new warning systems and better ways of planning to minimise the risk to life and property – all part of Australia’s national message about bushfire safety – Prepare. Act. Survive.
QLD’s Rural Fire Brigades comprise of more than 1400 Rural Fire Brigades and more than 35,000 volunteer firefighters and support members – all focused on protecting the 93 per cent of the state’s land area which is rural QLD.
Anne and Kerry do presentations, displays, demonstrations, ‘street meets’ and property visits to promote the Prepare. Act. Survive message.
Trained and supported by the RFSQ, they provide expert advice on what people need to do to prepare their family and home, how to act if a bushfire approaches and how to survive a bushfire.
VCEs also have a key role during fire emergencies.
They may doorknock their local area, provide public advice at community meetings or even act in a media liaison role at an incident.
The VCE program is unique to Queensland but its success since 2010 in carrying the message about bushfire safety and assisting locals to reduce fire risk is being watched by fire services around the country.
Rural Fire Brigades cannot fulfil their mission to protect life and property without the co-operation of their local community to reduce fire risk in advance of the fire season.
This season looks to be no different with late rain, high fuel loads and rapidly-drying vegetation likely to increase our fire risk.
Anne and Kerry stand ready to help locals learn more about bushfire safety, whether they have lived in a rural area a long time or have moved here for a ‘tree change’ away from the suburbs.
If local landholders, business or community groups would like a visit from a VCE to deliver a presentation or provide information on preparing for this fire season, they can contact Anne on 0497 337 017 or call the RFSQ Caloundra Area Office on 5420 7517.