Whether you're a lawyer, a hairdresser, a doctor or a mechanic, volunteers give back to the community equally - and that's what Ron Threlfall loves about his role in the Rural Fire Service.
The Nerrigundah brigade captain doesn't want to be paid for fighting fires, but says working with safe equipment isn't too much to ask for.
The rural town, west of Bodalla, was one of the first hit by a fire storm on New Year's Eve. The blaze turned 80 per cent of properties to rubble and took a 71-year old Nerrigundah man's life, but the brigade's fire shed - and the 12 people inside - were saved by a sprinkler drenching system.
"Every station surrounded by eucalyptus forest should have these sort of systems. It saved our lives," he said.
He also wanted trucks retrofitted with the "best of the best" in truck equipment, instead of "hand-me-downs".
Yes, we could get hurt at any time because that's just the nature of the beast, but you should still have the ability to be able to protect yourself the best you can.Nerrigundah RFS brigade captain Ron Threlfall
"It's not costing the government for labour, so why aren't they retrofitting trucks with the best of the best in safety sprays and being able to operate all the sprays from inside the cabin?" he asked.
"That safety aspect has always worried me.
"Yes, we could get hurt at any time because that's just the nature of the beast, but you should still have the ability to be able to protect yourself the best you can."
Now most property owners' sheds were gone in Nerrigundah, they had no tools of their own to rebuild with.
But for Mr Threlfall, the hole in the community wasn't of the destruction of homes, it was of the residents not returning.
"We hope those people come back because otherwise it (the community) is destroyed," he said. "We love living here and we love the people here. We're not in everyone's back pocket, but if we need help, we know it's there."
He had praise for his crew who did everything they could in the battle. He said he couldn't imagine another fire storm again like it.
"When the blokes put their hands on the roller door, it was boiling, so they put their backs on it to hold the door," he said. "If you had gone out, you would have gone to ash."
"The whole valley was aflame. There was nothing usual about it," he said.
"It was so dry. The drought had gone on for so long. It (the fire) had plenty of time to build up and she just hit us like a tonne of bricks.
"No matter how much hazard reduction you've done, it wouldn't have changed anything.
"I can't see us having another one again, but it depends whether the temperature of the earth goes up. If it goes up any more, I can't see us being able to live here."
Since the fire, the brigade has put 1000-litre pods of water at properties, and would continue to refill them "as needed until those people become established again, which could take who-knows-how long".
He said the ARMY, SES and government assistance representatives had helped the town with supplies and donations.
He encouraged members of the public to become RFS members, especially younger people.
"It's for their own protection, but it's also for the protection of the community," he said. "Even if they do their BF (bush firefighting) and they don't want to go any further, they've got the gear, they've got the knowledge; they've got half a chance."
To directly donate to the Nerrigundah community, go to: www.gofundme.com/f/bushfire-community-donation