Miniature CFS fire trucks a hit with local communities
Miniature water-powered fire trucks have hit the streets in a fun new community engagement initiative helping to ignite local interest in the CFS.
Veteran CFS volunteer, Jamestown Brigade Captain Graham Sims, has built two ‘mini’ fire trucks with the support of CFS Flinders, Mid North and Pastoral Areas HQ, after being inspired by a similar initiative undertaken by the Rowville CFA in Victoria.
The trucks made their debut at the Jamestown Christmas Pageant held earlier this month, and will be used by the Brigade for community engagement activities in 2023 and beyond.
“They were received really well by the kids and adults alike,” Mr Sims said.
“Since being on show at the pageant, they’ve been booked for the Whyalla Cadet Camp, and we’re hoping to take them on school visits.
“We'd like to bring them out and make them available for other brigades to use, too.”
An electrician by day, Graham has been volunteering with the Jamestown Brigade for 25 years. He hopes that the mini fire trucks will act as a “conversation starter” for locals to learn more about the CFS, and consider volunteering.
“Not only did the trucks give them [the kids] something to do at the pageant, it also introduced them to the CFS,” Mr Sims said.
“Mainly, we’re trying to engage them so down the track, they might decide to join when they’re older.
“By engaging children, we’re also able to engage their parents - it might spark some interest for them to come along and join.”
Like many regional CFS brigades, Jamestown, which is about 200 kilometres north of Adelaide in the Mid North region of South Australia, desperately needs new volunteers.
“We’ve only got 20 volunteers, and we don’t just deal with bushfires - we also respond to Road Crash Rescue and HazMat incidents, too,” Graham said.
“We’re desperately in need of volunteers right now … if we got 10 extra volunteers who could respond regularly, it would take so much pressure off the team.”
CFS Flinders, Mid North and Pastoral Areas Regional Volunteer Officer, Ben Pettman, said community engagement initiatives like Graham’s not only help with volunteer recruitment efforts; they also help build community confidence in the vital services provided by the CFS.
“We love it when our volunteers use their initiative to highlight what their brigade does to help the community,” Ben said.
“Initiatives like this one help us to create a positive image and build rapport with the community … it really gets them talking and keeps them interested in what we’re doing.
“At a local level too, it’s incredibly important to maintain and build the CFS’ reputation and confidence in our services.
“We have to be able to work with the community in order to help them stay safe, and protect life and property.”
Ben encouraged other volunteers who would like support for community engagement activities to approach their Regional HQ.