By Kendrea Rhodes
The emergency services are a blessing. Knowing they will respond quickly creates that sense of security and freedom we’re accustomed to. South Australians have a deep respect for the Country Fire Service, and quite right — these are volunteers who drop everything and run towards danger, when everyone else runs away. And just in case you missed it: they are volunteers.
‘The CFS are more than a bushfire service … we are community based for the community,’ said Brigade Captain, Frank Regan. The Littlehampton CFS are a multi-hazard fire service on call 7 days a week, operating from a duty roster.
Anyone new to the area might not understand the extent of situations the CFS attend, which vary between grass and scrub fires, bushfires, structure fires, vehicle accidents, hazardous materials and alarms. The Littlehampton CFS station requires approximately 40 firefighters and a few administration staff to run effectively. Frank said they only have half the firefighters they need to cover the forecast hot summer ahead. They are desperate for new recruits to cover their busy area which includes schools and childcare centres, as well as bushland.
Firefighter training occurs after the completion of criminal history checks, child protection checks and an initial six-week trial period. Recruits then complete the Basic Firefighting Course held at the CFS State Training Centre in Brukunga. Once qualified, the minimum commitment for firefighters is attendance at 30% of incidents and training per year.
Tracey and John Koumi, proprietors of the Littlewood Agapanthus Farm, will light a bonfire on Saturday 12 October (3.30pm to 8.30pm) under the watchful eye of their local CFS. Tracey said the CFS have been so helpful with advice and hands-on work around the Agapanthus Farm over the years that the Koumi’s decided they want to give something back. And what the CFS need most are more volunteers.
Tracey said, ‘we value the CFS so very much and are worried about the summer season coming.’ Tracey and John bought the 20-hectare property in Littlehampton three years ago. The gardens are well established, boasting over 100,000 Agapanthus of 16 different varieties, including the rare Guilfoyle (deep purple) and the Albo Roseus (white with pink tips). It’s a beautiful place for a wedding and many have tied the knot there, including Littlehampton CFS Brigade Captain, Frank Regan (pictured here with wife Natalie in 2017).
Come along to the safest bonfire you can possibly attend. There will be CFS discussions, demonstrations, recruitment, sausage sizzle, wood oven pizza, Adelaide Hills wine, live music, Smokey the Koala, fire truck inspections, a walk around the gardens and children’s activities. All funds raised will be donated to the CFS. If you are interested in joining the Littlehampton CFS, please call Frank Regan on 0411 105 433 or visit the CFS website for more information: cfs.sa.gov.au.