WHILE the Fire and Emergency Services Authority’s Risk to Resource report highlights infrastructure shortfalls in the region, more attention needs to be addressed to the chronic lack of volunteers.
The recent spotlight on FESA following the Keelty Report can surely do little to inspire any prospective volunteers to enlist in the interest of protecting their community.
The report into the Kelmscott-Roleystone bushfire created a perceived responsibility in the hands of FESA management.
Unfortunately, the State Government’s treatment of the case is likely to be felt at grassroots level after the sacking of FESA chief executive Jo Harrison-Ward, an avid supporter of the volunteer service.
The allegations against FESA have gone largely unanswered and resulted in about 32,000 WA volunteers without a say in their leader’s demise.
Northam and surrounding shires can only hope their volunteers continue doing the great job they have always done.
But the stocks of volunteers are dwindling, and those who remain tend to be veterans.
It is essential the State Government continues investment in regional fire fighting infrastructure, but more promotion is needed to attract fresh volunteer faces to local units.
If improvements are not made soon, within several years there will be few volunteers left to man the local brigades.