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Byron Shire
May 22, 2024

Fire season is coming – time to join the RFS

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Billinudgel and Ocean Shores RFS crew. Photo Eve Jeffery

As the landscape dried out in the leadup, and during, the 2019–20 Black Summer fires, Ocean Shores resident, Kitty Crain, began to look around and wonder who would come to her rescue if a fire started in the bush around her home. 

‘Ocean Shores is surrounded by bush, and I felt vulnerable in a suburb surrounded by bush. I thought “who’s going to come to our rescue?” I decided I’d better go and investigate, and that is why I joined the RFS,’ said Kitty, who is now President of the Billinudgel and Ocean Shores RFS.

Following three years of wet weather, the resulting plant growth, and the prediction of an El Niño that will make eastern Australia drier this year, there is general concern that the upcoming fire season will be dangerous. 

Start training

‘Now is the time to join and start training for the next fire season,’ explained Kitty. 

‘It is the time for new recruits to come on board, and join in for the preparation of the upcoming fire season, as the prediction is that it will be a dry summer.’

Billinudgel and Ocean Shores Captain, Darren Cornale, highlighted that you can get a great range of experience as a member of the RFS.

‘It’s not just bushfires that you attend. You can also be called to car fires, for ambulance assistance, house fires and respond to floods as well.’ 

Basic Firefighter’s certification

However, Senior Deputy Captain and training officer, Murray ‘Muzz’ Drechsler, said it takes commitment to train and qualify as a member of the RFS. ‘My life changed when I joined the RFS,’ Muzz told The Echo. ‘It gave me the confidence to lead, it gave me confidence in who I am.’

‘It takes about 38–40 hours to do the training to get your Basic Firefighter’s certification and be ready to go to a fire,’ he said. 

‘Then, once you have the basics there is regular training and you need to do call outs – that can be mornings, nights or weekends. It takes a big commitment for the brigades and training officers to train you up as a firefighter, so we are looking for people who have that time, and are willing to make that commitment, to come and join up and get involved.’ 

Training is on the last Sunday of every month, with a training and meeting every second Tuesday of the month.

Apply online at NSW RFS, or you can drop into the Billi station.


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