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Hard Days Night
Our Tanker was on Strike Team Duty when the fires at Kyneton started we received advice that the Strike Team would be paged to attend.
A number of our Volunteers attended the Station and a solid Crew was selected from the assembled members.
I was looking after the Grand children that night so I felt I could not go
Those that were not part of the Crew ensured that the truck was well stocked with an extra esky secured on the deck. (We are a tight knit bunch that tend to look after each other)
The page came and the truck departed, almost immediately the Captains thoughts turned to the potential for relief crews for a night shift.
With a number of our volunteers away on Holidays crewing was going to be difficult.
As it transpired later that night relief crews were required I was faced with a couple of challenges a Wife Overseas, 2 Grandchildren at home for the night and Work the next day.
I knew that work would be fine as they actively support me as a Volunteer with the CFA
The owners feel in a small way that they can give back to the community.
The Grand Children challenge was resolved when the Captains Wife suggested she could come and look after them. (Thank you Jenny)
The plan was that I would Crew Lead our Tanker but by the time we got to the assembly point I was the Strike Team Leaders Driver
I tried to get some sleep on the bus to tide me over for the night ahead but my mind was wandering
I overheard conversations on that bus about how difficult it had become to attract young people to the CFA
Some of the Older Volunteers were lamenting the ways of the youth of today
How hard it was to maintain their interest with limited access to volunteer friendly training and sourcing gear for them.
Yet on that very same bus I knew of some outstanding very young individuals.
A long night on the fire ground gave me more time to think about why I was here.
Had I done the right thing by the Grand Children, would work really be Ok with me taking the following day off.
What really motivated me to put my life and those around me in turmoil?
Did what I do really make a difference to the CFA?
I was not so sure that CFA management really appreciated what we do.
At the drop of a hat at any time of day or night we respond when we can, not knowing when we will get back home.
I pondered the difficulties involved in trying to get things from the CFA
I felt we were being asked to do more with less.
I understood that the CFA was undertaking a review of how they operated to become more efficient in providing an emergency service (I did not agree with the premise that we were a business)
At times I got lost in some of the information coming from the management (Management Speak does not always translate well)
Much of the information seemed directed at the CFA Employee not at the Volunteer
Reviews of this, implementation of that, more staff to support the Volunteer, all I really wanted was the ability to get replacement items quickly but despite the best intentions of some it seemed that we didn't really need to replace PPC as a Volunteer you had to wait your turn.
(There's plenty of us so it didn't matter if someone is unable to turn out)
I've since overcome this issue by stockpiling high turn over items but please don't tell CFA Management.
Swirling around in my head was the different points of view of the many stakeholders UFU this VFBV that all with their own agendas. The claims and counter claims of the Political Party's and the scare tactics from the various factions
Please don't get me wrong there are some fabulous people in the CFA that do care and do an outstanding job in very difficult circumstances.
It's just a feeling I had on the night shift in the early hours of the morning when I was perhaps just a little tired.
In any case we survived the night but my doubts lingered.
Was I in fact over it?
When I returned home the Grand Children thought it had been a grand adventure.
At work they reaffirmed their support of my volunteering and that I shouldn't have worried.
But do you know what really made me think it worth the effort we all put in?
It was the young woman who turned up at the station unannounced on a random Sunday morning with freshly baked scones, jam and cream just to say thank you.