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Faces of CFA - Dawn Wood
Willung South brigade member Dawn Wood is featured in the summer 2012 edition of Brigade magazine's Faces of CFA.
How long have you been with this brigade?
I officially joined CFA 17 years ago but I’d been volunteering with CFA long before that - making phone calls and helping with administration work for the brigade.
Why did you join CFA?
Willung South is a small community. CFA is our family and home. It’s about being part of the community, banding together to look after one another. If I was in trouble I’d like to know that someone would come to help us.
I grew up in Erica and have always lived in the country. When I was six or seven years old, I remember sitting in the passageway of our house watching a major bushfire over the hills. Bushfires are just a part of living if you’re out in rural areas, as well as floods and snakes.
Which incident has had the greatest impact on you?
We were very active in the 2009 fires. I was working in the Incident Management Team and spending my days off with my brigade on the truck. At one point people were saying, “go home your place is going to burn out!” I called home to check if the answering machine picked up, which it did, which meant that the power lines hadn’t gone.
My other half was out on the truck at Calignee. I couldn’t get in touch with him because he’d lost his mobile phone. I finally heard from someone at 2am to let me know that he was still up there.
It wasn’t fun but it’s much better to be out on the fireground or in an IMT rather than at home waiting for a phone call. In the IMT you’d be one of the first to know if a firefighter went down – no news is good news.
What do you do when you’re not firefighting?
My husband Craig and I run a beef farm, we’ve got a couple of dogs and I teach martial arts – Tang Soo Do. It’s not all fire. That being said, Craig works as an airfield firefighter as well as a PAD [practical area drill] operator!
What’s next for your brigade?
Succession planning. We’re encouraging some of our younger members to take on more of the leadership roles. My husband has been captain for more than a decade and this will be his last term. He’ll still be active in the brigade – he just believes it’s time for someone else to take over. He doesn’t want to get stale.
I focus on providing mentoring for a lot of new people – especially for the females. If we have an incident I’ll be the one to say, “OK you guys grab the hose” and I’ll be right beside them helping. Hey, we’re getting old!
Interview by Jason Leigh