New­est re­cruits put to the test straight away

Myrtleford Times - - News -

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.”

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