As National Volunteer Week continues CFA is taking the opportunity this year to shine a light on some of the work our volunteers also do in the background.
April Kerford is a CFA member at Hoddles Creek Fire Brigade and is involved in the catering group that supports CFA firefighters on the fireground.
The catering crew consists of 12 members all from Hoddles Creek brigade. They can be dispatched at any time to support firefighters with food and drink.
Brigade member April Kerford said supporting the firefighters is an extremely important job.
“We get dispatched to all different situations – structure fires, bushfires, search and rescues, training days and CFA events.
“Firefighters sometimes have been on the fireground for hours and need refuelling. That’s where we come in.
“We use the brigade trailer to prepare and cook meals for members. The trailer consists of a barbecue, eskys, a generator, lights and other vital equipment so we can cook meals whatever the condition.”
The catering group attends on average two or three large incidents a year. Fortunately, the majority of catering jobs are for CFA events and training.
“We can make all kinds of meals. If we have more time to prepare and can attend a local station to cook, we normally make casseroles, roast chickens, spuds, veggies and more.
“When we attend an incident, however, we don’t usually have time to prepare different dishes so a barbecue is normally the best option.
“I always knew I wanted to be part of CFA,” April added. “My husband and son are both firefighters in the brigade. My son started as a junior.
“I wanted to contribute to the brigade but I didn’t feel comfortable jumping on the back of a truck, so I found another way to help the community.”
Many brigades around the state have catering groups including the District 12 brigade team called Snack Attack. Broadford Fire Brigade’s food trailer can be despatched to incidents in District 12.
Broadford brigade’s First Lieutenant Luke Crampton said the brigade’s catering capability has been a “vital function” and a “great opportunity for brigade members to give their time without being on the frontline.
“The district duty officer will generally determine whether the food truck is required. It’s a proven, quick way to transport and prepare more than 100 meals for our crews at one time,” Luke said.
Luke said the feedback from firefighters has been excellent and emphasised the importance of having friendly faces to greet and cater for them.
National Volunteer Week runs from 18 May – 24 May. The theme for this year’s National Volunteer Week is ‘Changing Communities. Changing Lives.’