The West

Volunteers ready to protect community

By day they are in business, tradespeople and scientists but when the alarm rings, they aim to race off in a fire truck within eight minutes.

They are among more than 32,000 volunteers who protect WA from fires on the front line and through education, risk management and prevention.

Roleystone Bushfire Brigade captain Noel Plowman, 60, was one of the first to fight the Perth Hills fire last year.

He said the sight of an out-of-control blaze was horrendous and it sounded like a train.

After 32 years in the brigade and after that devastation, he still sees too many residents who are complacent and have not protected their homes.

Financial planner Glen Usher knows the heartbreak from fires after his parents lost their Kelmscott house last year. He broke the news, then raced off to try to save other homes.

Department of Agriculture veterinary pathologist Shane Besier, 36, joined the Roleystone brigade four years ago to enjoy the group's comradeship while helping the community.

He said most volunteers had day jobs but when on call for the brigade they would drop everything at short notice.

Carpenter Luigi Italiano, 31, who has volunteered since he was 17, said their continuing fire training ensured they were always prepared.

Mr Plowman said his firefighters were a close team.

The West Australian

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