COMING into their busiest time of the year, Loch CFA is putting the call out for volunteers.
Loch CFA covers the townships of Loch, Nyora, Bena, Jeetho and the area between Nyora and Lang Lang. They’re also one of the 24 brigades in Victoria that provides a road accident rescue response over a much larger area.
First Lieutenant Len Wyhoon says the brigade has around 24 active members, including 16 members on the road accident rescue crew but that they “always need more” and it would be great to see more locals coming on board.
“We’re a busy brigade and availability’s not like it used to be,” he said.
“Farms are getting bigger and people on farms are getting busier. We have some locals involved but it’s never enough. We need to plan for redundancy.
“We need to keep on top of it as people get older. We want to deal with it before it gets to crisis point.”
Len says most of the calls the brigade receives are about fires (75-85 per cent) while 20-25 per cent are various rescues. Fifth Lieutenant Stuart Nation says there are lots of different roles to fill, for whatever people want to contribute.
“There are numerous roles and you can put in as much or as little time as you want,” Stuart said.
“You don’t have to fight fires. You don’t have to turn out to every rescue. There’s getting the truck ready, manning the station, washing the truck, administration roles.
“We’re open to everyone. Male and female. It doesn’t matter what your occupation is – everyone brings different knowledge.”
Loch CFA also has a junior brigade, for ages 11 to 16, and Stuart says it’s “very encouraging” when juniors stay on in the brigade in adulthood.
Stuart started in the junior brigade himself, about 35 years ago, and now serves on the road accident rescue crew.
He says it would really help to have some extra rescue volunteers as the Loch RAR crew covers some of the main arterials to holiday destinations – including Bass Highway and South Gippsland Highway – and accidents on these roads will increase over the holiday period.
Volunteers available to attend incidents during the day are in short supply and always highly sought after.
The brigade is also asking for donations of cars, which are vital for road accident rescue training.
Cars can be dropped off at the training site on Loch-Wonthaggi Road (about 1km out of Loch), or call the brigade on 5659 4477 to arrange pick up. Later model cars are preferred.
When they’ve finished training with the cars, the brigade sells what’s left over for scrap, which raises funds for new equipment.
And a reminder that the RAR training site is not a tip and that dumping rubbish there creates extra work and cost for the brigade.
Loch CFA trains every Monday night, except the first Monday of the month when they hold a meeting. If you’re interested in joining, call the station on 5659 4477.
The junior brigade trains on Thursday nights. Contact Adam Sporle on 0418 312 426 for more information.