Mid Coast RFS district to welcome hundreds of new volunteers

RFS volunteer ranks are set to receive a major boost over the coming season. Photo by Something Visual.
RFS volunteer ranks are set to receive a major boost over the coming season. Photo by Something Visual.

The NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) Mid Coast district has had over 500 volunteers apply to join the organisation in the wake of the devastating 2019/2020 fire season.

RFS district officer, Stuart Robb, said applications were up more than three-fold on previous years.

"We typically get around 150 new members in a year," he said.

"We've got brigades that haven't had a new member in years suddenly getting a number of people applying to join."

Mr Robb said the influx of new applicants was spread fairly evenly across the Mid Coast district, which encapsulated both the MidCoast and Port Macquarie-Hastings local government areas.

Importantly, the applicants were expected to inject some much-needed youth into the organisation.

"It's a younger set of volunteers that are coming through," Mr Robb said.

"Typically we've had an ageing volunteer base - and I don't think that's unique to the RFS.

"This gives us longevity."

Mr Robb said the influx of new volunteers would allow the organisation to be better prepared and better equipped to fight long-running 'campaign' fires, like those experienced across the region in late 2019.

He also believed it showed the community was a lot more aware of the risk bushfires posed.

"I'm seeing a greater resilience in communities than I've seen in the past," Mr Robb said.

He estimated the applicants would complete their training over the next three to four months, and would be fully fledged members by the beginning of the bushfire season in August.

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