Jess Liddy, Yorke Peninsula Country Times
Balgowan CFS is putting out a call to the community.
The station has just three members and is facing closure due to a lack of volunteers.
Balgowan CFS Second Lieutenant Ian Marschall said the closure of a station like Balgowan would have a huge impact on the community.
“Response times to an incident would be much greater because we would have to wait for volunteers from Maitland or Port Victoria, which are about 40 minutes away,” he said.
“In life-or-death situations that is a very scary prospect.
“And… Balgowan isn’t a sleepy little town anymore; there are about 100 permanent residents and during holiday periods and peak times it’s a very busy place.
“It’s growing year after year — in our local area I think about 60 houses have gone up recently.”
About 50 people attended a meeting at the station on Saturday, January 27 to find out more about being a volunteer.
“We had a really good reception — we welcomed CFS Region 2 Regional Commander Steve Salamon who spoke to the community, and we also did a presentation about the importance of our brigade and the alternatives if we didn’t have a station locally,” Mr Marschall said.
“About 20 people signed up their interest and now we have to follow up with them all in hopes they become volunteers for the Balgowan station.”
Mr Marschall said volunteering is extremely important in regional and rural communities.
“In country areas, if you don’t volunteer and do it yourself, who will?” he said.
“You get the satisfaction of helping others and making a difference.
“Not only do you help your local community, but you help neighbouring communities as well, and even state and country wide — it all comes back around.
“There are also various roles throughout the CFS; there is a whole body of volunteers who can come together to improve the local community — not just on the frontline.”
To volunteer with the Balgowan CFS, contact Mr Marschall on 0428 245 337.
For more information or to volunteer elsewhere go to www.cfs.sa.gov.au/volunteers/volunteers/.
CFS thrilled by community response
CFS regional volunteer officer — Region 2 Linda Copland said the CFS is thrilled with the community response following an urgent appeal for people to join the Balgowan brigade
“The CFS is grateful the community demonstrated how much they value, and are keen to support, Balgowan CFS by attending the meeting and expressing interest in becoming members,” Ms Copland said.
“The CFS has stations in outer metropolitan, regional and rural South Australia to ensure we can respond rapidly and effectively to incidents across the state.
“Local CFS brigades safeguard districts by delivering timely fire and rescue services in designated response areas.
“The CFS is an all-hazard agency; therefore, we work closely with all other emergency agencies.
“By having local stations, the CFS is able to provide critical primary responses, even if the CFS is not the control agency for an incident.”
Ms Copland said the Balgowan brigade delivers valuable services to communities on western Yorke Peninsula.
“With more than 13,500 volunteers across the state, the CFS is SA’s largest volunteer organisation,” she said.
“Communities across the state rely on trained local CFS volunteers to deliver professional fire and rescue services in outer metropolitan, regional and rural SA.
“Without sufficient volunteers, CFS brigades cannot deliver critical emergency services to local communities, when local communities need them most.
“Phone CFS Region 2 Headquarters on 8522 6088 if you would like to volunteer with the CFS or visit www.cfs.sa.gov.au/volunteers.”
This article appeared in Yorke Peninsula Country Times, 6 February 2024.