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“Fighting my first real fire was scary. We got too close. I could hear the roar of the fire well before I could see the flames. At one stage, the tree next to me burst into flames due to an ember attack.”
Office manager, Kristi Caughley, is a proud volunteer at Country Fire Authority (CFA). CFA is a volunteer based fire and emergency services organisation which help protect 3.3 million Victorians, and more than 1 million homes across the state.
“We were lucky enough to have set containment lines early and were well prepared. No amount of training can prepare you for the real thing. Sometimes in life we just have to throw ourselves into the deep end and start swimming.”
CFA are a crucial organisation to greater Victoria. Dangerous situations frequently arise. The organisations primary focus is to prevent any loss of life, therefore decision making in these harsh conditions is difficult. “The safety of all volunteers comes first, and then whatever assistance we can provide is what we are trained to do.”
“The 9-month recruitment process was super challenging, but it is designed to be that way. We all have ongoing training on Tuesday nights and Sunday mornings, and it is so rewarding to be part of another close community. I was looking for a way to give back, and I think I have found my calling. I will be doing this for a long time.”
SALT encourage all staff members to be proactive in their community, take up hobbies and extra-curricular activities that they enjoy and are challenging.
“SALT have been very supportive throughout this whole process. We all need challenges in our lives in order to grow, and I’m lucky that I have lived out my childhood dream and now can proudly say that I am a volunteer firefighter.”
– Office manager, Kristi Caughley