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Mt Martha Brigade Support Team
This week, CFA is recognising and acknowledging some of our senior members as part of Victorian Seniors Week. Mt Martha Fire Brigade is a perfect example of an active senior group that doesn't let age get in its way.
By Megan Angel
Volunteers at Mt Martha Fire Brigade cover a wide age range, from Juniors aged 11 to the Brigade Support Team aged up to 87 years old.
Although you can find a Junior brigade at many fire stations, not many brigades have a group of seniors like the Mt Martha Brigade Support Team, also known locally as the BST.
The BST began around 20 years ago for members of the community who wanted to help the local brigade but not necessarily fight fires and attend incidents. They quickly learned there was a lot more to do for the brigade than just fundraise and clean up around the station (although they still do this as well).
The BST, which has around 20 members, meets every Thursday morning where its main goal is to reduce the load on operational members so they can concentrate on training and turning out to incidents.
Members of the BST are responsible for ensuring all fire hydrants in the area are kept clear, locatable and functional. They run the Brigade Community Safety programs including PAVS and Fire Safe Kids, and visit kindergartens and local events to promote fire safety.
The Mt Martha Fire Brigade also has a brigade-owned lighting/staging area vehicle that the BST operates at large, complex fires around District 8 which they respond at all times of the day and night.
Pat Richardson has been a member for around 18 years. When asked why she enjoys being a part of the BST she replied, “The company of likeminded people. They are a fantastic group to be around. I also enjoy being involved with younger people; it keeps you young”
“I’m very involved in the Community Safety programs, organising and facilitating the Fire Safe Kids and kinder visits. FSK has changed a lot over the years and it’s very rewarding work. The work we do really is a hobby with a purpose and the results are visible.”
Margaret O’Doherty joined the BST in 2001. At 87, Margaret is one of the oldest members of the support team.
“I was living on my own and looking for something that assisted the community and filled in time,” said Margaret. “I’m involved with Meal on Wheels but I heard about the BST and thought I could help. I have gained a lot since I have joined - education about fire and wonderful friendships. I really do love this work. It keeps me busy and I get to interact with likeminded people.”
CFA is well known for its volunteers who want to protect their communities, and the Mount Martha Brigade Support Team is a perfect example of how you can do that at any age.