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Community bushfire training this weekend

Published: 5th September 2007


Preparation for the summer bushfire season kicks off in the Illawarra area this weekend when more than 80 community residents will attend a NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) bushfire training day.

Members from 12 NSWFB Community Fire Units (CFU) will attend this supervised skills maintenance session to further develop the skills they need to assist firefighters in defending their own homes against bushfires.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said that CFUs were a great asset to the local community.

"CFUs are made up of ordinary men and women who play an important role in supporting NSWFB and Rural Fire Service (RFS) firefighters during bushfires in their community," Commissioner Mullins said.
 
"There are 357 CFUs in NSW with more than 6,000 volunteers working all year round clearing leaves from gutters, reducing fire fuel and preparing themselves and their properties for the bushfire season.

"It is the role of CFUs to put out small spot fires and flying embers in their street before and after the main fire fronts have passed. This allows NSWFB and RFS firefighters to get on with the main job of fighting the intense fire fronts," Commissioner Mullins said.

Volunteers initially complete 12 hours of skills acquisition training conducted by CFU Training Coordinators from the NSWFB Bushfire/Natural Hazards Section.  The training focuses on property protection and bushfire behaviour.  Members also learn how to use fire hoses, hydrants and how to pump water from a static water supply using a portable pump.  Once members have completed the initial training they are required to complete 12 hours of supervised skills maintenance training each year with trainers and firefighters from local fire stations to ensure they are up to date with the latest procedures and equipment so they can better protect their homes against bushfires.

CFUs are provided with a CFU trailer valued at $15,000, which contains firefighting hoses, portable pumps, hydrant standpipes, safety helmets, gloves, smoke masks, goggles, tools, first aid kits, boots and protective clothing.

Commissioner Mullins said the CFU volunteers were a great asset to local communities and fire services.

"These residents perform a vital role in our communities by raising awareness and working alongside firefighters to actively deliver community safety messages."

For more information on CFUs visit the Community section on the NSWFB website at www.fire.nsw.gov.au, and for more information on general bushfire safety, visit the RFS website at www.rfs.nsw.gov.au