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Benayeo turns around turnout
While Benayeo Fire Brigade is a member of the Apsley Group, it’s also an unofficial member of the South Australia Country Fire Service’s Naracoorte Group.
“We’re backup for them and vice versa and happy to be so,” said Captain David Sambell who’s been in the position for three years. “Fireys don’t know to stop at a border.
“They have different equipment which they’re happy to demonstrate and we carry their fittings on our tanker and communicate on their channel.
“About twice a year we’ll have a shared exercise between the groups where we build up friendships. They have big dealings in hazmat and rescue and we’re able to draw on their skill base.”
Benayeo is strengthening its own skill base with seven locals under 20 years of age recently completing Minimum Skills. For a brigade with a 95 per cent farmer base, 15 operational members and about 20 incidents in a bad year, it’s a significant turnaround.
“A few of them joined and I think the rest wanted to be in on the action too,” continued David.
“Once a month we have a whole-of-community barbecue at the local hall which adjoins our station. It’s a good place to have a chat and I think that social aspect introduced them to the idea of the fire brigade.
“We have a campfire going and the CFA members head off and have a meeting for an hour or so while everyone else stays on and socialises.
“These young ones will expand our core group of four or five who always turn out and give some people who want to wind back the chance to do just that.”