Finding confidence and connection at the CFS

Phoebe volunteer profile - hero

As a busy single mum with three sons, Phoebe never imagined she would have the opportunity to be part of the CFS. That was until she met volunteers in the Aldgate Brigade who were cooking a fundraising barbeque at her local polling station on election day, last year.

“I noticed how respectful the brigade was, and the equality between the women and instantly felt so welcoming.”

On the cusp of entering a new stage of her life, Phoebe approached the brigade to ask about volunteering opportunities, with the intention of cleaning the trucks.

“I used to see the trucks go past the house with their sirens blaring and trucks coming back looking dirty,” Phoebe said.

“So, I went up to them and said I’d be happy to help give them a wash but instead they said, ‘come out with us!’”

“I was ready to push myself and I thought, ‘why not?’, it just felt like the right time.”

Phoebe volunteer profile - yellows

Phoebe officially joined the Aldgate CFS Brigade last year, which is home to 30 volunteers, male and female, who range in age from teenagers through to people in their 80s and 90s.

The age and gender diversity of the brigade was something that struck Phoebe immediately. She said she felt part of the group from day one.

“It’s unbelievable the range of people who volunteer in our brigade … you find all these people you never knew lived in the area and we’ve even got two married couples!” Phoebe said.

The size of the brigade, along with the range of volunteering roles available, has meant that Phoebe’s found the time commitment very achievable and enjoyable.

The CFS offers a range of volunteering roles including being a firefighter, radio operator, administration support, getting involved in logistics and assisting with catering.

“You’re not always spending five days in a row fighting a fire, it’s more like regular community service,” Phoebe said.

“The nice part about it is all the jobs are in your area, too … it surprised me how often we’re out and about assisting in the community.”

Volunteering with the CFS has provided Phoebe with renewed confidence and connection to her community, which she considers a great privilege.

With the fire season in full swing and many CFS Brigades across the state are in need of volunteers.

Phoebe said she’d definitely recommend volunteering with the CFS to others — especially those who, like herself, have previously thought they might not have the required skills or experience.

“It’s a privilege to help people, and it's an investment in your backyard… you’re helping your neighbours and you get to know people in your area.

“Volunteering with the CFS is a lot of fun, you learn so much and get to take a step out of your comfort zone.”

19 May 2023