Five Tinonee Rural Fire Brigade members pass NSW RFS Basic Firefighting assessment

Julie and John McMahon, Mel Callinan, Leanne Bennett and Cory Scott are now trained firefighters and ready for action. Photo supplied
Julie and John McMahon, Mel Callinan, Leanne Bennett and Cory Scott are now trained firefighters and ready for action. Photo supplied

Tinonee Rural Fire Brigade welcomed five newly trained firefighters into the Brigade on Saturday, July 18.

Cory Scott, Leanne Bennett, Mel Callinan, and Julie and John McMahon, have now passed their Basic Firefighting assessment with flying colours.

The NSW Rural Fire Service has seen a spike in membership since the devastating bushfire season last year. Tinonee Brigade became local heroes during the catastrophic Hillville fires and they have welcomed new members this year to help share the load.

The new firefighters undertook online training modules as well as extensive practice and scenario training to ensure they will be competent bushfire fighters.

"The face to face practical training proved challenging over the last few months with all the Covid-19 social distancing rules," Tinonee local Mel Callinan, who is known to many as the previous owner of Tinonee General Store, said.

"While it is a very serious training program it was fabulous learning a whole lot of new skills and there was great comraderie among the recruits."

The final assessment was held in Tea Gardens, along with seven local Tea Garden recruits, under the control of group officer Damien Chester, Group Four South.

Tinonee brigade captain, Russell Coe also thanked the Tinonee RFS trainers - new RFS life member Bert Bennett, Mark McKie, and Roger Scott - who worked tirelessly to ensure the recruits were well prepared for their assessments.

"Our latest recruits are now available for callouts, but they will have plenty of assistance from other experienced crew members, mentors, and crew leaders. No one is dropped in the deep-end at a fire. A critical component of all our training is safety first," Russell said.

This is not the end of training for these newest members of the team. RFS training is an ongoing process and there are always new skills to learn. There are also a number of other new Tinonee recruits half way through their basic bushfire training.

The Tinonee brigade is also preparing for 'RFS Get Ready Weekend' on September 20, where there will be practical demonstrations and plenty of free resources for the local community to begin their readiness for the upcoming fire season.

The brigade urges the local community to support this important event.