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More than 100 volunteers join the Fire Brigades Community Fire Unit Program

Published: 1st August 2008

More than 100 community volunteers from across NSW will learn how to prepare their homes for the summer bushfire season this weekend at a NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) bushfire training day in Greenacre.

The Community Fire Unit (CFU) volunteers will learn the skills they need to assist firefighters in defending their own homes against bushfires.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said CFUs were made up of ordinary men and women who played an important role in supporting firefighters during bushfires in their community.

"It is the role of CFUs to put out spot fires and flying embers in their street before and after the main fire fronts have passed. This allows NSWFB and NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters to get on with the main job of fighting the intense fire fronts.

"The CFU program has grown rapidly since it began in 1994. There are 370 CFUs and 6,250 volunteers across the state and these numbers are set to double over the next three years as the program expands to regional NSW and to other metropolitan areas identified as high risk across the state.

"Being a CFU volunteer is an ongoing commitment. It is about preparation and prevention and not just acting when there's a bushfire. Volunteers work all year round clearing leaves out of gutters, maintaining fire breaks and preparing themselves and their properties for the bushfire season," Commissioner Mullins said.

During the training session volunteers learn about bushfire behaviour, first aid and test their skills pumping water from a static water supply using a portable pump. They also practice using fire hoses and hydrants.

The training is provided by firefighters from the NSWFB Bushfire/Natural Hazards Section and local fire stations to help the volunteers develop the skills they need to assist firefighters defend their homes against bushfires.

Each CFU units has equipment valued at $15,000, including fire fighting hoses, portable pumps, hydrant standpipes, safety helmets, gloves, smoke masks, goggles, tools, first aid kits, boots and protective clothing.