Newest recruits put to the test straight away
READY TO ACT: Bright’s newest firefighters Gary Cox, Leanne Gillham, Leah Chalwell, Max Martin and Simon Watts.
BRIGHT’S newest CFA recruits have been put to the test just a few days after completing their minimum skills training.
The brigade was called to a structure fire in Wandiligong last week where a young family was forced to evacuate after a fire started in the room cavity of their home causing extensive damage.
Of Bright CFA’s five new members four attended the incident last Wednesday night with mother of two Leah Chalwell one of them.
“Who would have expected in our first week that we’d be going to a structure fire,” she said.
“When the pager went off there were a few nerves about whether I should go and then I thought there’s got to be a first sometime.
“I loved the experience but when I got home there were a few mixed emotions - you go out with an excitement to help out and then you think about the poor owners watching them go through that.”
The brigade’s latest intake follows a recruiting campaigner undertaken early this year to secure more operational members after losing six members over 12 months.
Bright CFA captain Paul jjenvey@ nemedia.com.au Mansfield said all five recruits recently completed their minimum skills training over a number of weeks and the four that attended last week’s fire all acquitted themselves well.
“It’s just good to see some new blood and will be good to see a few more volunteers available to turnout,” he said.
“Three of the five are all pretty new to town and with a few more new females joining a couple already on the books hopefully it will be the start of things to come.”
Ms Chalwell said she would had never given any thought to volunteering with an emergency service organisation before her husband Rhett joined the CFA at the start of 2016.
“I grew up not thinking twice about who was involved in the CFA and why, but when Rhett joined that changed,” she said.
“During the day when we were at work together I would be driving him to the station to drop him off for a call-out or sitting in the carpark waiting for him to return.
“They’d sometimes be pushing to get numbers out the door and then a few times I said I should be jumping on the truck with you so that’s why I signed up.”
Ms Chalwell, is joined by another mother of two Leanne Gilham as a new recruit and said that other women thinking of joining shouldn’t hold back.
She said there is a need for more volunteers to be available between the hours of nine-tofive which might suit some mothers.
“During the training I was skill questioning why I was doing it but after last Wednesday I’m glad I did sign up,” she said.
“It gives you another new skill set to learn - something that you might have never considered and it also gives you a bit of a self-esteem boost.
“I think if I can do it then anyone can and for any mums with time on their hands between nine-to-five if you’re interested it’s something to look into.
“Yes you possibly have a job like I do, but I’m so much more flexible as a mum between those hours.”