Each year communities across SA depend on the services provided by the Country Fire Service.
Its volunteers are called upon at all hours to help contain out-of-control fires and respond to local car crash situations – among other services – and are generally the first on site.
They jump to the task selflessly and instantly, putting the safety of others above their own.
Clare CFS captain Rob Salter said each time they were called to assist, they entered the situation as a team which worked tirelessly for each other and its community members.
“Your local people know your local areas, they know your streets, your houses, your gullies, all your back roads; local knowledge is invaluable,” Mr Salter said.
“If there is a fire, we can get there quicker rather than having to pull a map book out and start looking.”
When a CFS outfit was called to a job, Mr Salter said volunteers had worked for up to 12 hours at a time and that it was not uncommon for them to be called up in the middle of the night.
“They’ve (CFS volunteers) made the community feel secure and they should have made the community feel safer,” Mr Salter said.
To build a fully functioning fire fighting squad, all kinds of roles needed to be filled and not every person who volunteered found themselves with a hose fighting on the front line.
There were roles for most people as long as dedication to weekly training sessions and an eagerness to serve the community was present.
“From the first day a volunteer walks through the door to meet us and they get voted in as a member, you’re looking at about 12 weeks of training,” Mr Salter said.
“There are also things to be done around the brigade.
“You still get a pager and when that pager goes off you can come into the radio room and do radio (communications), you can do logistical work, or just do big incidents.”
Thousands of people from all walks of life served in their local CFS, utilising their personal skill set and assisting in getting the job done.
“As we come out of the Fire Danger Season, this is the best time for people to do their basic firefighter training,” Mr Salter said.
To express interest in joining your local CFS outfit, visit your local station during a training session, call 1300 364 587 or visit cfs.sa.gov.au and click on the “volunteer” menu for more details.