THE Gummun Rural Fire Service (RFS) Brigade only formed in 1998, but this community-minded group of Merriwa locals has recently received some well-earned and desperately needed fire-fighting equipment.
The Sir Ivan Bushfire of 2017 that devastated 55,000 acres around the Cassilis, Dunedoo and Coolah areas is just one of the many fires the Gummun RFS Brigade has fought.
According to Gummun RFS secretary Cassandra McLaren, the brigade “was actively involved during the whole time during the Sir Ivan Bushfire, assisting in the Cassilis area and with other outbreaks within the district”.
“Gummun RFS responded with either one of two trucks accompanied by crews of two to three volunteers, day and night, throughout the week of the fire.”
Despite the faithful service of both trucks in fighting many fires, Cassandra explained “one truck was about 18 years old and the other truck was about 20 – they were tired and badly needed replacing”.
Captain of the Gummun RFS Brigade and local farmer Mike Gilder was one of the proud brigade recipients of two brand new fire-fighting trucks, each valued at approximately $200,000.
“We’re a proactive brigade and our prior trucks were the oldest in the Liverpool Range area,” he said.
Cassandra was just as pleased as the other 30 active brigade members.
“The new trucks have improved safety features for crew protection,” she said.
The Gummun RFS Brigade has already responded to several emergency call outs using their new, technologically-advanced trucks operated by their dedicated crews.
The trucks certainly look impressive and should serve the brigade well.
However, it is the spirit within this brigade and their desire to serve the community that’s more important.
State-of-the-art technology may help in saving lives and property from bushfire, but as Cassandra explained: “It’s about helping to protect ourselves, our neighbours and our community”.
People interested in joining the Gummun RFS Brigade can contact Cassandra McLaren (6548 8561) or Mike Gilder (0429 482 219).
Alternatively, you may access the RFS website https://www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer/Join-the-NSW-RFS to ascertain your closest brigade accepting members.