CFA units call for new members

March 22, 2024 BY

New blood needed: Members of the Nulla Vale CFA are hoping they can attract younger members to join their team. Photo: SANDRA JAMES

MEMBERS of the Nulla Vale CFA are worried a shortage of volunteers will leave them and local properties in danger if they cannot attract new members.

They are also concerned that their equipment is outdated, further putting them at risk.

“Unfortunately, most of our members are older and unable to do as much as they once did,” said Captain Luke Freestone.

“We have very few members under 50.

“We need to attract new members, especially younger ones but red tape and online training requirements are putting off a lot of people.

“Added to that our equipment is outdated and if we are caught in a serious situation, lives could be lost.”

Former Captain Peter Hayes, said that there used to be a rule that trucks had to be replaced after 10 years.

“Then it changed to 20 years and now, if the truck is roadworthy, it is still used.

“Our main truck is 30 years old and doesn’t have the safety accessories that could help to save lives in an emergency.

“I’m seeing a lot of tree-changers move into the community but very few of them are willing to commit to the CFA.

“They enjoy the country life but leave it to others to look after the safety of their properties.”

Pyalong CFA Captain Brendan Kelly said they are also trying to attract more volunteers.

“It’s hard with all the red tape and bureaucracy. Potential volunteers don’t want to go through all that.”

“And our conditions are bad. Old equipment and an inadequate shed.

“We’ve been promised a new shed but the funds are all tied up. More red tape and bureaucracy.

“We don’t even have a toilet. The guys have to go out in the paddock and how can we attract female members?

“We were told to use the public toilet block up the hill but we shouldn’t have to hike up there.

“I’m sure those who make the decisions at head office all sit on shiny porcelain!”

Nulla Vale CFA member Bill Chisholm said he is hearing similar stories from many other CFA units in the area.

“I believe the CFA has lost more than 7000 members since Black Saturday and we need to improve conditions and attract new blood.

“Although the nature of the CFA is to assist in other areas when needed, if units had more members, they could possibly keep a fire under control before it reached that point.

“Individual units fundraise but with only about 96 houses in our area we can’t do a lot.

“People can only give so much.

“Too much of the Fire Services Levy is being eaten up by administration and not returned to where it’s most needed.”

There are many other support roles available in the CFA besides fighting fires.

Anyone who would like to volunteer can contact Nulla Vale captain Luke Freestone on 0404 259 315, Brendan Kelly at Pyalong on 0419 135 815 or their local CFA.