Volunteer firefighters from the Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade geared up and trekked through town on Monday evening (February 7) in preparation for upcoming training.
Advanced firefighter Sharon Gatt and village firefighter Jodie Queribin walked from the station on Wyden Street to the Taree Old Bar Surf Club and back to get ready for the CABA course (Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus).
Starting next month, Sharon will be completing the CABA course with crew member and Neil Hester. Jodie and other volunteers will complete it later in the year.
CABA gear is much thicker and heavier than the usual protective clothing we wear so it takes some time getting used to the weight. It is definitely a workout.- Sharon Gatt, Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade advanced firefighter
"CABA gear is much thicker and heavier than the usual protective clothing we wear so it takes some time getting used to the weight. It is definitely a workout," assured Sharon.
"It allows us to enter inside buildings and get closer to vehicle fires if necessary and it helps to protects our bodies and lungs from fire and smoke."
The Old Bar RFS brigade already have three CABA qualified operators, but according to Sharon they need six because they are a village brigade.
The plan is to have seven by the end of the year after the training courses have been completed.
The brigade has recently welcomed 10 new members, bringing the total to 32 active members.
This brings the number of female members to eight, which Sharon says is "just incredible."
"When all these girls started walking through the door I just thought 'yes!"
Sharon said the brigade didn't experience as many 'major fires' this summer, but have been called to more motor-vehicle accidents recently.
"Our call out number for 2021 was 112, which is how many times our trucks rolled to an incident.
We have had quite a few motor-vehicle accidents that we have been called to lately, and quite a lot of ambulance assists.- Sharon Gatt, Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade advanced firefighter
"We have had quite a few motor-vehicle accidents that we have been called to lately, and quite a lot of ambulance assists."
"I don't want to say we have been quiet, because as soon as you say that we get slammed, but there hasn't been as many major fires this year."
The brigade are also in the process of buying new equipment that was raised by the 'Albatross Way Christmas Light Extravaganza' and the Old Bar community.
The initial aim was to raise $1000, however, word quickly spread through the local community and eventually a sum of nearly $6500 was collected.
The money will be used to purchase a heavy duty washing machine and dryer to be installed at the Old Bar Fire Station and will be used specifically for washing and drying fire fighting uniforms.
The remaining money will be used to purchase belts, Pac Fire helmet torches and specialist tools such as spanners that are required by fire fighters to connect hoses and fittings.
A huge shout out to the residents of Albatross Way and everyone that was involved in the fund raising for their outstanding community spirit.- Sharon Gatt, Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade advanced firefighter
It will also be used to get carpentry work done so the station can house the new washers and dryers.
The members of the Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade would like to thank all of the local businesses, community members and residents that contributed during the fund raising activity.
"A huge shout out to the residents of Albatross Way and everyone that was involved in the fund raising for their outstanding community spirit.
"As a community we are all so much stronger when we stand together."
Old Bar Rural Fire Brigade members meet every Monday at the station.
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