An urgent recruitment drive for the Suffolk Fire Brigade has been sparked following last week’s Ambergate fire.
Volunteer firefighters said crews struggled to find the manpower to contain the ferocious blaze, which started last Monday and ravaged 40ha.
Brigade fire control officer Mark Smith said a few firefighters had to complete extended shifts.
“We very quickly ran out of guys to fill the shifts — it became obvious we need more firefighters, ” he said.
“There’s always a need for more volunteers and it’s probably not something which is unique to our brigade either. If we could get some people out on Tuart Drive, Geographe, Wonnerup, it would cut response times.”
Front-line firefighters are most urgently required, but there are many other positions that need to be filled. Brigade captain Graham Bailey said becoming a fire volunteer was a great way of giving back to the community and most employers were supportive.
“We found out with the Ambergate fire that we didn’t have as many people as we thought we had, ” he said. “With the day and night shifts, quite a few of us went without sleep. Obviously there’s a fair bit of training and it’s a big commitment, but the rewards are there.”
Suffolk Brigade volunteer fire fighter Callum Burwood was inspired to join after seeing the West Street fires three years ago.
“Within three weeks I was signed up and I’ve never looked back, ” he said.
“There are so many roles there is something for everyone.”
For more information on joining, visit www.dfes.wa.gov.au/volunteers/Pages/volunteerrecruitment or phone 1800 628 141.