Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is encouraging central Queenslanders interested in becoming firefighters to volunteer with their local Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigades.

RFS Area Director Craig Magick said more than 8000 volunteers were already giving time to assist RFS in central Queensland but more were needed, particularly across the Gladstone region. 

“All of our rural firefighters play a crucial role when it comes to protecting their communities from the threat of fire,” Mr Magick said.

“We are looking for people from a variety of backgrounds and ages who can bring different skills.

“The role of an RFS volunteer may appeal to people who want to learn new skills or who are interested in one day having a career as a permanent or on-call firefighter, with rural firefighting offering an insight into what it takes to succeed in the profession.

“The feedback from our volunteers is they also really value the social side of the RFS, with many making new friends and developing a greater sense of community.”

Mr Magick said there were 78 RFS brigades within the Gladstone area, which covered close to 30,000 square kilometres across Gladstone and Banana Regional councils, and all played an important role.

“The central Queensland community of Agnes Waters, for example, faced the very real threat of bushfire in September when a fast-moving fire threatened multiple properties and prompted firefighters to tell residents to leave their homes for their own safety,” Mr Magick said. 

“Within a matter of hours we were able to contain the blaze, with RFS volunteers helping reduce the impact the fire may otherwise have had on the community.”

Mr Magick said while a key part of being an RFS volunteer was fighting fires, there were other important positions brigade members filled. 

“RFS volunteers are crucial in fire prevention when it comes to alerting the community to potential issues as well as providing advice on home and property fire protection,” he said. 

“Through a community education role, RFS volunteers help ensure residents are equipped with knowledge to protect themselves and their families. 

“Volunteers also conduct hazard reduction burns year-round to reduce vegetation and minimise the impact of bushfires.”

If you are interested in becoming an RFS volunteer in the Gladstone region, call the Gladstone Area Office on 07 4899 2200.  

To learn more about volunteering go to ruralfire.qld.gov.au/volunteering.