RFS crews working hard to find all the hotspots at the Shark Creek Fire near Tyndale.
RFS crews working hard to find all the hotspots at the Shark Creek Fire near Tyndale.

COVID-19 disrupts training for record number of RFS recruits

THE COVID-19 pandemic has curtailed NSW Rural Fire Service's efforts to train its record influx of new volunteers.

Around 35,000 prospective volunteers have signed up since July last year, up from just 1853 during the same period last year. This surge is reflected in the numbers across most brigades in the Clarence Valley.

"We have got several new and prospective members," Nymboida RFS Captain Paul Johnstone said.

Lawrence RFS Captain Scott Campbell also confirmed double figure growth for his brigade.

However the pandemic has forced the RFS to delay much of the training for its new recruits.

"We've had a fantastic influx of new members that we're trying to train up as quick as we can," Clarence Valley RFS Superintendent Stuart Watts said.

"But being trapped with this COVID-19 pandemic at the moment is slowing things down and testing us as we work through it.

"But we do have a lot of programs in place for new volunteers to do online training, and as soon as time allows we can start rolling out practical training to measure their competency and get them on the truck as soon as we can.

"The door is still open for anyone looking to join the RFS. It is a community organisation that is all about helping the community."

Visit www.rfs.nsw.gov.au/volunteer to find out how you can join your local brigade.



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