Conversations and social connections made over coffee has led to the Halls Gap Country Fire Authority brigade acquiring nine new volunteers.
Brigade captain Colin Andrews said a member of his team who owned a coffee shop proved the lure of a good cup of coffee could bring a boost to their search for new volunteer firefighters.
“Coffee is a big part of the culture for young people in the major cities and when they move into the district, a coffee shop is one of the first places they go,” he said.
“Meeting one of our volunteers in that social setting gives them a chance to realise they can be a great asset to the community and lets them learn more about the great experience of being a CFA volunteer.”
The nine volunteers, two women and seven men, all aged in their 20s completed their minimum skills training which gave them a nationally-recognised qualification as firefighters.
“Also their combination of enthusiasm and youth means they have the potential for many years of service to the community,” Captain Andrews said.
“The Brigade now has 26 regular members, and we have the makings of the next generation of leaders, and that is great news for the community.”
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria District 16 President Peter Hannan said recruiting new volunteers was vital to the CFA’s future and the protection of communities across the state.
“The CFA’s great volunteer resource is what gives it the surge capacity to deal with multiple major incidents at a time, anywhere in the state, while still providing 24/7 protection to each brigade’s local community,” he said.
“Volunteer firefighters train to professional standards and are supported by thousands of non-operational volunteers handling things like equipment maintenance, fundraising, administration, and community awareness.
“Members of the community become CFA volunteers for many different reasons, but the friendships they find and the satisfaction of service to the community are common to all of them.”
Captain Andrews said it had been a late start to summer, but Halls Gap’s volunteers were likely to be busy very soon.
“We have had a strong growing season, there is a lot of long, dry grass in the district and we have already had a lightning strike that started a grass fire in the local area,” he said.
“It was a clear warning of what is to come and a sign that everyone in the district should have their property prepared and a sensible plan so that every member of their family knows what to do on high fire danger.”
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