The CFA is well known in and around Benalla, but the extent of the time and effort put in by volunteers at all times of day and night can easily go unnoticed by the wider community.
In the first six months of this year, the Benalla Fire Brigade has attended 141 call-outs, an average of five calls a week.
This is six call-outs shy of the total number the brigade attended for the whole of 2017.
These call-outs have included grass and scrub fires, motor vehicle accidents, house fires, gas leaks, illegal burn-offs, smoke sightings, children locked in vehicles and much more.
Benalla Fire Brigade captain Darren Griffiths said the brigade would not function without the dedication of the volunteers that give their time and skills year-round.
‘‘Many people in our town think that our members are paid firefighters. They’re not; our brigade is supported 100 per cent by volunteers from within the Benalla township,’’ Mr Griffiths said.
‘‘As the largest and most central brigade to the Benalla municipality, Benalla often assists with incidents in surrounding towns and districts.
‘‘There is a high level of mutual co-operation and support throughout the area and this is never more important than during the high fire danger period which this year saw a number of significant fires responded to swiftly and effectively by Benalla and surrounding brigades.
‘‘What is not often seen is the time spent training, cleaning and maintaining equipment and the station.
‘‘Members still have to meet their responsibilities to employers and other commitments — but despite this we see a high level of participation and dedication to keeping our community safe.
‘‘We are fortunate to have many generous businesses and employers in town who throw their support behind the CFA and allow their staff to leave for fires and incidents.
‘‘This is hugely important but not widely recognised. For that, we thank those business and organisations in Benalla and call for them to further assist us as we continue into this very busy 2018 year.’’
Benalla Group of Fire Brigades also participates in community events and assists with fire danger awareness and education activities in the wider Benalla area to help the community with preparations for fire safety.
Members also give considerable time to fundraising for various brigade needs. At present the Benalla Fire Brigade is running a wood raffle which will be drawn on July 21 at the Lakeside Market.
If you want to show your support and go in the draw for a trailer full of firewood, tickets can be purchased at MP Steph Ryan’s office in Bridge St and at the market on market day.
●If you have an interest in becoming involved in a CFA brigade you can find out more by visiting www.cfa.vic.gov.au