Each weekend, during our Christmas opening season, volunteers from the Somerville CFA (Country Fire Authority) Brigade organize and run a sausage sizzle for our visitors. The money raised all goes to help fund the wonderful service they provide to our community.
The CFA provides firefighting and other emergency services to all of the country areas and regional townships within Victoria as well as some of the outer suburban areas. You are probably familiar with their work; due mainly to media coverage of the larger bush fires such as Ash Wednesday in 1983, the Alps fires in 2007 and, still very fresh in our minds, the Black Saturday fires of 2009.
What is amazing is that the majority of its members are volunteers. There are around 60,000 CFA volunteers (one in five are women) compared to about 1400 paid staff. CFA is one of the world’s largest volunteer-based emergency service organisations.
The CFA is also on hand fighting fires in industrial, commercial and residential buildings, helping in road rescue and other emergency activities such as flood assistance. In the 2009/10 financial year they responded to 21913 incidents. It is incredible that they also make time to fundraise.
CFA TV Highlights
As well as providing training for firefighters the CFA run community awareness, education and safety programs such as Fire Ready, Fire Safe Kids for primary age school children and free Home Bushfire Site Assessments. You can download a wide range of information including the “Prepare, Act, Survive” Fire Safety Kit from the CFA Publications – Fire Safety page. The CFA Connect site provides you with news, videos, pictures, forums and blogs.
I will leave today with video footage that captured hearts worldwide: the koala, nicknamed Sam, accepting water from CFA firefighter David Tree, after getting her paws singed in a bush fire. This took place just before the Black Saturday fires of February 2009. Sadly, Sam died later in the year due to chlamydia, a condition that is very common among the koala population.
Sam The Koala Survives Bushfire