But though they worked like Trojans all,
The fire still went ahead,
So far as you could see around,
The very skies were red,
(Banjo Patterson. Bushfire – an Allegory)
I love the CFA, Victoria’s own country fire authority. Last week T, my sixteen year old son, began his induction as a recruit with our local fire station. This week’s bushfires at Margaret River in W.A. are a terrifying reminder of the vital role such organisations play in protecting rural communities
The CFA has evolved from a rough network of local fire brigades, to become one of the world’s largest volunteer emergency services associations. T will have to undertake Wildfire Minimum Skills Training, before he’s allowed to turn out in a fire truck. Thank goodness for that. He’ll learn about personal protection, map reading, fire behaviour and suppression. He’ll receive communications training. This will complement what he already learned this year during Year Ten. His school offered the practical subject of Fire and the Community to its students.
So T will be well prepared by the time he helps conduct a fuel reduction burn, or attends a road accident. Or turns out to a full blown bushfire. It’s a wonderful opportunity for him to give something back – to become a valuable and responsible member of his community. I am of course, very proud. I will try to hold onto this thought when the sirens next ring, and my stomach coils in nasty knots.