Noble Park Fire Brigade has changed a lot since it was founded in 1929, and Captain Terence Sanford said it’s all the better for it.
“We’ve got members from 17 different nationalities,” he said.
“In Noble Park, only about 30 per cent of the community speak English, so we’ve done a massive amount of work with our multicultural community.
“We’ve recruited people from all over the world, including refugees, and many want to give back as a way of saying ‘thankyou’,” Captain Sanford said.
He said many of the volunteers didn’t speak English when they were first recruited.
“Breaking down that language barrier was the biggest challenge… so we simply taught them English on the job.
“But these volunteers are vital to us. They can communicate to locals on the scene, and that’s really important.”
“It’s also a way of letting many new arrivals in the community know that the uniform is nothing to fear, that we’re here to help.
Captain Sanford said the brigade has grown to more than 50 members, and is coming along in leaps and bounds.
“Last year, we received a 2.2 tanker, and that’s the first time we’ve had a tanker at the station in 30-years. And we’ve just had news that that’s been upgraded to a 3.4 tanker.
“But a brigade is nothing without its members, and I’d like to commend Glenn Stones for receiving his 30-year service medal, and Adam Walker for receiving his 25-year service medal,” Captain Sanford said.
“Special mention also needs to me made of Robyn Robie, Shaun Robyns, James Smith, Kane Floyd, and Butros Jeitani for helping organise the anniversary celebrations.”