Published: 14 May 2024 09:25am

In the lead up to National Volunteer Week (20-26 May), and to celebrate 30 years of its Community Fire Units (CFU) program, Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has unveiled a new uniform for its dedicated members.

The new uniform is in line with the current standards of protection for firefighters which came into effect following the 2019/20 ‘Black Summer’ bushfires. They will be initially rolled out to CFUs in the Blue Mountains, with the rest of the state to follow. As a nod to the history of the program, the jackets retain the traditional CFU blue however in a lighter shade.

For three decades, the almost 5,000-strong army of trained volunteers has been helping to protect local communities on the urban fringe from the threat of bushfires.

CFUs were first established following the devastating bushfires that ravaged parts of Sydney in 1994 and today, some 512 units protect more than 15,800 homes across 49 local government areas in NSW.

FRNSW Commissioner, Jeremy Fewtrell, said CFUs focus on bushfire education, prevention and preparation as well as build community resilience by turning suburban streets into neighbourhoods.

“CFUs are fully trained volunteer teams of local residents trained to safeguard their homes during a bushfire, until FRNSW and other local fire services arrive,” Commissioner Fewtrell said.

“They are made up of six to 15 volunteers (from 18 years up) who work year-round reducing fire fuel and preparing themselves and their neighbours to help minimise the impact of bushfires on local communities.

“Volunteers stay with their homes and put out small spot fires and flying embers in their street before and after the main fire fronts have passed. This allows fire services to get on with the main job of fighting the intense fire fronts.”

In recent years, CFUs have been ‘activated’ or put on ‘stand by’ during many bushfires and have actively assisted fire services to limit property damage and loss.

Volunteers complete 12 hours of combined theory and practical skills acquisition training supervised by CFU Officers and local fire stations that focuses on bushfire behaviour; safe ‘housekeeping’ and gardening practices; planning and preparing for bushfires; operating and handling firefighting equipment; and mop up operations.

After residents complete the initial training, the CFU is provided with a trailer or an outdoor cabinet/unit which contains firefighting hoses, portable pumps, hydrant standpipes, safety helmets, gloves, smoke masks, goggles, tools, first aid kits, boots and protective clothing.

Ongoing training is provided each year to members. As part of the program, volunteers are required to complete 12 hours of supervised skills maintenance training to ensure they are up to date with the latest operational procedures and equipment.

For more information on CFUs, visit [external link]

Updated: 14 May 2024 09:30am

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Smoke alarms

It“s the law to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on every level of your home.

Details about this incident may change and should not be used as emergency information and/or advice.

For all life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)

For flood information, warnings or requests for non-life threatening assistance, call the SES on 132 500 or visit the NSW State Emergency Service website here. [external link].

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Stations nearby

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