Thanks to the many brave volunteers, the fire department has always worked hard to keep urban and wildfires under control. The goodwill of these people have helped stopped many fires from spreading to outrageous levels. As long as people are willing to volunteer, the fire department will always be at their best, and fires will always be contained.

Volunteering for the local fire department is a long tradition. Australia’s first official volunteer fire department was created in the town of Berrigan, New South Wales, over a century ago. The community was forced to come together to fight bushfires, and they became the first bushfire brigade.

Today, there are volunteer firefighting departments in every corner of Australia. Each department isl set up by the states or individual territories. One of the biggest volunteer fire departments would be the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSWRFS). Currently the NSWRFS has 70,000 volunteers and is responsible for over 90% of the land in the New South Wales area. Following them would be the Victoria’s CFA which has 60,000 volunteers. Although the service is predominantly staffed with volunteers, there are still salaried members overseeing the day to day operations.

The volunteer system saves a huge amount of taxpayer money. Volunteers have made it so that the CFA saves the state coffers $500 million a year. Funding is still necessary for volunteers to be able to conduct their job, but their efforts save a lot of money every year.

Unfortunately, even volunteer firefighting comes with its share of challenges. The younger generation is not volunteering as much as the departments need. Many volunteers are becoming old and the job has taken a toll on the health. A majority of the younger generation has begun to leave rural communities behind. There decision to leave for the city makes a huge impact on the number of volunteers every year in rural communities. In the past year, the Western Australia volunteer fire and rescue services association has announced that they are having difficulties because of a shortage of volunteers. This year alone their numbers have decreased by over 3000 people. The new generation does not have an interest in volunteering. If the decline in volunteers keeps continuing at this rate then the tradition of volunteer firefighters may come to an end, and who knows what dangers that may bring?


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