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If the suit fits

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May 17, 2017

Rutherglen Station Captain Dave Hawkey with CFA volunteers Milton Thompson, Mark Massey and Max Daye who are seeking more volunteers.

Community-minded residents are encouraged to swap their day attire for a bright yellow jumpsuit in an effort to boost volunteer firefighter numbers at Rutherglen’s Fire Station.
Due to some volunteers leaving the area and older members stepping down from active firefighting, numbers have dropped in recent months.
Station Captain Dave Hawkey said volunteers were becoming increasingly harder to find each year.
He is hoping an information night and tour of the station on Thursday, May 25 will turn that around.
The station has 18 volunteers but needs at least another five recruits.
“The government provide the trucks, training and equipment but can’t supply us with the volunteers,” Mr Hawkey said.
“Everyone has their commitments and finding people with daytime availability is where our shortfall is at the moment.
“Our numbers have dropped off as older members move towards not being active anymore and some have left the area.
“It’s not just us that are struggling for volunteers, people aren’t realising how much in their life comes from volunteering.”
CFA volunteers must be over the age of 16.
Mr Hawkey said training would be provided, people just needed to put the time in.
“We are looking for people who enjoy serving the community, learning new skills and who thrive on the sense of achievement,” he said.
The station is also looking for support in its command centre.
“People don’t have to be active firefighters because we also have roles behind the scenes,” Mr Hawkey said.
One person who knows all about the sense of achievement one gets from volunteering with the Rutherglen CFA is former policeman Milton Thompson.
Mr Thompson encouraged residents to attend the information night and make their mind up then.
 “The fire brigade is the community and without people putting their hand up then there wouldn’t be a fire brigade,” he said.
“People can become a little time poor and apprehensive about this kind of role, but they can look into it and make their mind up.”
Years ago Mr Thompson was living in a town outside of Melbourne when a major fire tore through the area.
“From there it was just a natural progression because I wanted to be able to help the community I live in,” he said.
“We need more volunteers now because numbers are getting low and we don’t want to get to a point where we can’t defend our town.
“If we don’t get some support in the next year or two, it could get to that position.”
The information night kicks off at 7pm with a barbecue dinner at the fire station.
Dinner will be followed by an introduction to the brigade’s history, CFA values, what being a member is about and will end with a tour of the station.

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