THERE are not many volunteering opportunities that span generations and offer a role to suit just about anyone, but the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is one of those organisation.
After more than 100 years of firefighting, the RFS has become the world’s largest fire service with 70,000 volunteers across the country, 2243 in the Canobolas Zone.
As National Volunteer Week kicks off, Canobolas Zone operations officer Brett Bowden has saluted the men and women who give their time to help others.
“Volunteers are able to fulfil a number of roles, it’s not just firefighting,” he said.
Roles are as varied as the people that sign up, Mr Bowden said, from places in transport, community education and catering to training and frontline firefighting.
“That’s one of the things that attract people to our organisation because it’s not just firefighting,” he said.
The RFS Canobolas Zone is extensive, with 80 brigades, 161 fire trucks and associated vehicles and more than 450 incident call outs every year.
Mr Bowden said it was a huge job and couldn’t be done without so many volunteers giving their time to help their community.
The Central Western Daily was invited to attend a training session with Canobolas Zone’s volunteer firefighters on Saturday, where they were being assessed for their Village Firefighter certificate.
“It’s the culmination of more than 50 hours of work they’ve put in,” Mr Bowden said.
The training involved firefighters learning how to extinguish fires involving structures, motor vehicles, gas and electricity.
“They are able to give back to the community because they are educated in something they wouldn’t otherwise know,” Mr Bowden said.
“Training does a number of things, it makes sure our people are safe and they look after each other and that we provide them with the tools so they can do the job to protect their own communities.
“I would like to take the opportunity on volunteer week to thank those involved with the RFS.”