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Great day, had it all
Open Day at Barnawartha Brigade this year teamed up with the 'Head in the hole' community event. In its second year and with a number of members already involved with other community groups, it seemed a perfect time to make the connection.
Last year the brigade participated at a low-key level. This year, though, on the back of some well-received advice and tips picked up at the community engagement forum held in Creswick, the brigade made a more concerted effort.
Take the message to the people, walk the crowd, provide something a little different and have something for the little ones were all tips picked up and run with.
It was also good to link in with the other agencies and we were fortunate enough to have the Chiltern SES unit alongside us.
Although the event itself was not as successful as the organisers had hoped, based on the number of people attending, it was a huge success for the brigade. In such a small community to be able to share information and simply have a chat with upwards of 50 people that we would not normally engage with was a credit to the team of four from the brigade.
We also had other members attending, cooking BBQs, attending to carparking and generally helping out. This is important and really good community stuff, and the effort put into promoting fire safety messages, getting yourself prepared and getting to know your brigade members and simply having a bit of fun really seemed worthwhile.
Of course, the support of the BMT was critical and for the first time having members allocated to this activity really made a difference.
As often happens when planning for such an event, you can have in your mind how things will play out. Anyone who has participated in small community events will confirm that not everything goes to plan. One thing though that we did plan for was what would happen if we received a callout during the event.
As a brigade that has between 70 and 100 turnouts a year what was the likelihood? Well, sure enough, no more than an hour and a half into the day's proceedings, a callout was received. Thankfully we had planned. We had kids on one of our trucks and others were firing at targets using another truck. Key members looked after those community members while others prepared and then departed. It might very well have been our quickest response ever!
Fortunately, the incident on the freeway didn't last too long and we were back within the hour. It was a really good effort by all at the event to ensure the turnout went well but more importantly we had members stay to look after our gear and our guests.
Not long after our return, we had laddie show up and didn't he generate interest. Not quite Captain Koala but it was best we could come up with at short notice. Thanks especially to Lt Glenn Smith, Penny Ross and Blake Hancock for their time and commitment, and also to Lt Phil Colvin for his support and encouragement.
It was a really invigorating event for us and a great lead into the other activities we have planned in the near future.