Brigade runs on helpers

Golden Square CFA gears up for National Volunteer Week

THE Golden Square Fire Brigade responds to about 200 emergency calls every year.

The brigade has 50 registered members on its books - all of them volunteers who give up their valuable time to help the Bendigo community.

Monday marks the start of National Volunteer Week.

It's a chance to say a big thanks to the many volunteers, like those at the Golden Square Fire Brigade, who together form a formidable workforce powering many essential community, environmental, sporting, welfare, emergency services, education and cultural services and supports. 

Golden Square Fire Brigade First Lieutenant Tim McNeilly said volunteer firefighters did some fantastic work.

"We find here that the community often thinks we're paid firefighters at Golden Square," he said.

"But we're a purely volunteer brigade.

"We have no paid staff here.

"We're responding to that huge amount of calls, we train weekly, we check vehicles weekly, we inspect our high risk properties.

"So there's hours and hours of time our volunteers are putting in to serve the community and we just want to acknowledge that."

There's hours and hours of time our volunteers are putting in to serve the community and we just want to acknowledge that - Tim McNeilly

Mr McNeilly said CFA volunteers came from all walks of life.

VOLUNTEERS: Bryan Greenwood, Paul Davis, Geoff Turpie, Lacey McNeilly with 3 week old Harrison, Tim McNeilly, Rick Clayton, Russell Peters and Chris Corr. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

VOLUNTEERS: Bryan Greenwood, Paul Davis, Geoff Turpie, Lacey McNeilly with 3 week old Harrison, Tim McNeilly, Rick Clayton, Russell Peters and Chris Corr. Picture: JODIE DONNELLAN

"Here we have members who are about 17 to people in their 60s," he said.

"We have computer technicians, train drivers, train conductors, bus drivers, security guards, police officers, technicians, child care workers.

"We have about 12 or 15 women and they're a mixture of active firefighters and support group members."

Mr McNeilly said there was always room for more volunteers.

"You have to be 16 years or older to be able to respond to an emergency," he said.

"We, as any volunteer brigade, are looking for people who are available, nearby the station during the day, so business hours.

"Basically that's about it.

"All the training and equipment is provided.

"There are roles aside from firefighting - non operational people who look after fundraising activities, the annual dinner and social events."

Mr McNeilly is the proud father of three-week-old Harrison and is already planning a future for him as a member of the CFA.

"I guess he'll be helping out at some stage along the way," he said.

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