Our September Community Champions are the ACT Community Fire Units.
Located all across the ACT, Community Fire Units are volunteer-run teams of local residents who focus on bushfire education, prevention and preparation.
The groups emerged following the Black Saturday bushfires as residents living near bushland areas organised to help safeguard their homes and suburbs during the bushfire season. Supported by ACT Fire and Rescue, they use basic firefighting equipment to prevent fires spreading from bushland to their houses and backyards.
In addition to fighting fires, they assisted with the distribution of rapid antigen tests across the ACT during the pandemic and also educate the wider community about bushfire management.
The Community Fire Units are great examples of community building and how much people can achieve by working with their neighbours for the greater good. Existing volunteers say that the program is rewarding and helps both volunteers and residents be more aware about fire safety in the ACT.
They’re currently looking for volunteers for the upcoming bushfire season in eight locales across Canberra, including the suburb of Fraser. So if you live in the suburb of Fraser, you can find out more on their website here.
As an amusing aside: the demand doesn’t exist for all suburbs. In my area, I signed up to volunteer, only to be told that “We are currently targeting recruitment for Community Fire Unit areas with less than 10 operational members. Once we have recruited for these units, we will look at units sitting above this number, and reach out to you with details on how to undertake the required training.”
So don’t be offended if you’re not immediately put into training – ACT Fire and Rescue are doing a careful job, prioritising areas of need first, and ensuring that all at-risk suburbs have a viable Community Fire Unit.