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When businesses go over and above
We hear a lot of inspiring stories about CFA brigades but what about the local businesses and enterprises that put in time and time again to support our members to do what they do?
And in many (if not most) cases businesses don’t seek any publicity for their generosity.
It’s more about recognising the value of what CFA does and the intrinsic role of brigades in communities – not only for suppressing fires but for preventing them.
Two stories that came to light late 2014 are good examples of businesses at both ends of the scale going well ‘above and beyond’ to support both local brigades and district-led initiatives.
One is the Berwick Opportunity Shop which, back in December donated $13,000 in support of Narre Warren North’s efforts to buy a new 4WD.
A great effort on its own, but even better when you consider that they have been donating to Narre Warren North for 20 years – and that in 2014 it was just one of 14 brigades that the shop has supported.
President and volunteer Margaret Ruse said how important it was that any profit went back into the community.
“The majority of our money goes to firies because we realise the degree of work they do – they’re a good bunch,” she said.
“It makes our volunteers feel good, knowing what the money has been used for.”
Narre Warren North brigade Fourth Lieutenant Gordon Chalmers, who’s in charge of the fundraising committee, said brigade members appreciate the donations especially given that Narre Warren North isn’t the nearest brigade to the op shop.
“I was amazed at how many brigades they support,” said Gordon. “There are so many certificates of appreciation on the shop’s wall.”
Over in District 17, CFA has been collaborating with local John Deere dealership Emmetts Motors on a new pilot program to stop header fires.
A core part of the ‘Summer Safe Harvest Pilot’ is a video production targeted at farmers which takes them through practical steps to minimise risk. The video will be hosted on the John Deere (major international tractor manufacturer) website.
Given the potential of fires started by harvesters to destroy large areas of crops, it’s an important project, and one that has a big thumbs-up from District 17 Brigade Captain and retired farmer Kevin Bolwell.
Kevin is well known locally for his farm fire safety sessions, including one at Emmett Motors, and said the support from John Deere had been ‘magnificent’.
“Last year when we were looking into how these fires were occurring, we contacted Emmetts and John Deere to ask for their help to get the message across,” said Kevin.
“The really big thing that has helped this project is their support and expertise,” said Kevin.
Late this year, Kevin held an information session at Emmetts in Horsham, where he spoke about harvester fires and outlined where and how they can start.