Volunteer firefighter loves the variety

May 18, 2024 BY

Michelle Abro hard at work on the fireground. Photos: SUPPLIED

TORQUAY resident Michelle Abro is relishing her time as a volunteer firefighter, saying the ethos of preserving life and helping people was the same as her full-time work.

Ms Abro, who completed general firefighting training in November, has worked in insurance for more than 25 years, always as part of the claims process.

“For me, the idea of being able to volunteer in an organisation that’s really about protecting life and property is quite aligned to the sort of work I’d do in my day job,” she said.

“That’s about helping people recover from floods, and fires, and suffering from weather events.”

Ms Abro, who has lived in Torquay for more than two years, has gone straight into action, with her first callout on the first day of January this year to a car crash on the Surf Coast Highway, and last month’s fire in Gilbert Street her first attendance at a structure fire.

Volunteer firefighter Michelle Abro during a planned burn this week.

She was also part of a strike team to the Beaufort bushfire in February, and has taken part in two planned burns, including one in Wingeel this week.

She encouraged anyone interested in being a volunteer firefighter to sign up and not let their preconceptions get in the way.

“Most people maybe have an expectation that you have to be of a certain fitness level, be available five days a week at these times… it’s not like that,” she said.

“With the CFA, you choose how much you contribute and you manage your capacity and the availability you offer around the other priorities in your life.

“There’s more than enough jobs to be done and ways to get involved through lots of different parts, not just by running into a burning building.

Ms Abro says there are many roles that volunteer firefighters can play in the CFA. INSET: Michelle Abro hard at work on the fireground. Photos: SUPPLIED

“Lack of experience or anything like that is not a barrier; I’ve worked in an office all of my life.”

Ahead of National Volunteer Week (Monday, May 20-May 26), the CFA is thanking and celebrating its 52,000 volunteers for their ongoing dedication in protecting Victorian communities.

CFA Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook said it was extremely encouraging to see so many Victorians sign up to be a volunteer during 2023’s “Give Us A Hand” campaign and be part of something bigger in their local community.

“CFA recruited 1,844 new members since the campaign launched in August last year and we continue to grow.

“Across Victoria brigades have recruited members and continue to, but there are some areas still in need.”

If you are interested in joining CFA or learning more about volunteering, head to cfa.vic.gov.au/volunteer

Once you have submitted your expression of interest online, your local brigade will contact you regarding the next steps.

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