Locals wanting to fulfill their childhood dreams of becoming a firefighter may just get their chance, with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) holding recruitment days for their smaller stations soon.
There will be five recruitment dates covering the region. They will kick off in Boggabri, then move to Walcha, Bingara, Werris Creek, and lastly Barraba.
On-call firefighter at Gunnedah Fire and Rescue, Tammey McAllan, said these stations were "struggling for firefighters and are constantly relying on other stations to fill shortfalls in availability".
She said this was something that needed to be addressed, but also wanted to remind locals of the "great benefits" of being an on-call firie.
"We are your everyday people and we are more than [firies] and it's more than just a career," Ms McAllan said.
"I'm very keen to spread the love of Fire and Rescue [because] it's certainly one of the best things I have ever done in my life."
She said daytime availability was hard to come by for smaller and larger stations, but people who work from home, have their own business, or work for a company that would allow them to attend call-outs would be great for a position.
"Even mums who are home during school hours, there is such a rewarding opportunity for these people," she told the NVI.
"I know personally how many benefits becoming an on-call firefighter can bring and it never crossed my mind to join until we had a shortage of firefighters in my home town.
"I joined as I loved my community and wanted to help if I could."
We want to bring back some passion into what we do and hopefully recruit more people to enjoy a new journey.Tammey McAllan
She said she had gained a lot of skills and confidence since joining FRNSW which had made her a "better mum and a more confident person".
"I work for a bank and wear heels but I can also use a hydraulic combi tool to assist if needed in a [motor-vehicle accident]," Ms McAllan said.
"I know different types of fires large and small and how to extinguish them. I can use a defibrillator, administer oxygen and have more than just first aid, I have basic life support. What mother wouldn't want these skills?"
She said her two sons Rex and Jack now also want to grow up and become firefighters.
"I'm just one firefighter and one story and there are so many more stories like mine out there and we want to get that information out there," she said.
"We want to bring back some passion into what we do and hopefully recruit more people to enjoy a new journey."
The dates for the recruitment days are as follows:
- Boggabri: 31/10/2020
- Walcha: 05/11/2020
- Bingara: 14/11/2020
- Werris Creek: 21/11/2020
- Barraba: 28/11/2020
The days will be held in the relevant town's main street.
For more information on how to get involved, visit fire.nsw.gov.au/retained or call (02) 5732 8400.