One man is making it his mission to ensure the Rockbank CFA grows with the suburb.
Andrew Ingram has been a member of the Eynesbury CFA for several years, but it wasn’t until he moved to Woodlea estate in Rockbank he discovered the dire state of the Rockbank brigade – it had just one volunteer on the books.
The membership of the Rockbank brigade consisted of sole responder Derek Ramsay, who would often respond to jobs on his own.
Together, the pair are now hoping to grow their small team to 30 volunteers, a process they hope to complete in three years.
“It’s not just fighting fires that the job requires, as many people expect,” Mr Ingram said.
“The process involves various training courses which instil transferable skills to other workforces.
“The CFA is not only respected by community members but it’s a family extension, it simply brings people together; there’s nothing like the feeling of really being there for people in a crisis.”
The most pressing problem for the pair is finding daytime responders. Volunteers are extremely thin on the ground and the smaller the brigade, the less capable they are to respond to emergency call-outs.
Mr Ingram said many locals commute to the city for work, making it difficult to attract daytime volunteers.
He said they were looking for recruits who worked locally who would be able to attend call-outs during the day – they’re also looking to recruit female members to even out the gender balance.
“Traditionally firefighting has been seen as a very male-dominated arena, but we are extremely keen to see some female recruits showing interest,” he said
“There really is a role for everyone in the brigade. For those a little daunted by the prospect of the physical work, there’s always room for those who can add something strategically or intellectually.”
Volunteer information at www.cfa.vic.gov.au