There's no quiet time of year for the volunteers at the Narromine Rural Fire Service (RFS) who have been busy involved in breathing apparatus training.
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On Sunday the Narromine RFS brigade members were put through their final assessment at Wongarbon where they became officially certified Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA) operators.
The certification provides crew members with an increased level of respiratory protection especially when faced with motor vehicle or structural fires where the toxicity of smoke is high.
The volunteers firstly undertook a theory test to check they are aware of the underpinning knowledge they require when using the equipment.
They were then set a series of tasks such as undertaking a documented weekly maintenance report and ensuring the equipment can be set up, adjusted and ready to use in under 60 seconds.
Finally, the crew was put through a practical scenario using the breathing apparatus where firefighters entered a mock flat, filled with artificial smoke and navigated around furniture, with zero visibility to locate the dummies to bring them out safely.
Instructor Assessor volunteer at the RFS Bob Conran said the training was beneficial not only to the brigade, but the entire community.
"Narromine HQ are a very busy brigade, because they support almost all the other brigades ... so most incidents they respond to," he said.
"If we have car fires, truck fires, or structure fires that require people with BA we can get them out there quicker, otherwise it would have been Dubbo HQ responding."
The Narromine RFS now joins Dubbo as two of 60 brigades qualified to use the personal protective equipment.
For Instructor Conran the benefit of expanding this certification into the Narromine shire means crews can work alongside other emergency services.
"In the Narromine Shire, you've got Narromine Fire and Rescue they're a retained brigade and only have one pumper, so if they go to a structure fire, often fire and rescue have got to send people from Dubbo and Trangie to back them up," he said.
"With Narromine RFS HQ having the same capabilities hopefully they can work closer together and assist each other."
Instructor Conran said the RFS are always on the hunt for new volunteers and urges anyone who is interested to contact the local brigade.
"Were not different to most other volunteer organisations, our members are ageing and we're looking for younger people to come through," he said.
"Narromine HQ have a small core of volunteers but a few more would be very good."
Training starts with basic firefighter courses and volunteers can progress to take up speciality courses such as aviation, first aid, driver training and chainsaw courses.
Volunteers are provided with a range of protective clothing, and transport and all costs associated with training are covered by the RFS.
The RFS are encouraging residents aged over 16 years to contact them to discuss a volunteer membership.
All applicants must complete a police check and your level of fitness will be matched with the role you plan to undertake.
For more information visit the Narromine Headquarters Rural Fire Service Facebook page.
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