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Cohuna Car Sales revs up volunteers
To celebrate National Volunteer Week (13-19 May), CFA is saying “thanks a million” to its volunteers, families and employers for everything they do. This week we will feature a series of profile stories to highlight the great work and diversity of our volunteer members.
Cohuna Car Sales helps its employees Matthew Trigg and Stuart Barker do the emergency response shuffle as the volunteers strive to balance work and CFA.
“Your employment is central to your security in life,” says Sales Manager Matthew who doubles as Cohuna Fire Brigade third lieutenant. “If we get paged for an emergency while we’re at work, we have to judge it. If we have major business going on, we won’t leave. We try not to both be away from work at the same time although it doesn’t always work out that way. The most we’re gone is usually three hours. Once an emergency is under control, we ship people back to work.
“We do feel guilty and tend to stay back late at work if we’ve been gone during the day.”
Cohuna brigade turns out an average of 60 times year including attending about 12 motor vehicle accidents. There are 30 members in the brigade, half in support roles and the other half ready, willing and able to turn out on the truck…in agreement with their employers.
Cohuna Car Sales boss Allan Patterson looks at an emergency from the citizen’s point of view. “If it was my house on fire, I’d want the brigade to be there,” he says. “Somebody has to do it.
“It’s not always easy from the business side but Captain Bruce Embleton and ex-captain Rob Waterson from CFA have both talked to me about Matthew and Stuart volunteering. When it comes to a local emergency you do think, ‘What can I do?’ and this is what we’re doing.
“We love the town and that’s how country towns operate. Being in CFA keeps up Matthew and Stuart’s interest in the town so there are benefits all round.”
The two members don’t find it hard to maintain their enthusiasm for CFA with Cohuna brigade offering training, training and more training. It aims to keep members for the long haul by always expanding their skills base – ideal for anyone ripe for a challenge.
“We learn the latest of the latest,” says Matthew. “We go to the Holden proving ground and we’ve learnt how to approach a hybrid vehicle involved in a motor vehicle accident by training with the real thing. Even our newer members are doing advanced training so there’s a good amount of experience in the team.”
Cohuna brigade has a pumper which carries rescue gear such as rope, harnesses and a stretcher. They’re also looking forward to taking possession of a new tanker once their station extension is complete.
That’s where it comes full circle in a small town. Allan Patterson is active in the Cohuna Lions Club which worked closely with the brigade to raise the $100,000 for the fire station renovation.
Employers help volunteers so CFA can help the community.