A volunteer fire brigade and a surf club turned evacuation centre have received some essential federal funding for equipment to better prepare for the upcoming bushfire season, while other fire brigades have missed out.
Nethercote rural fire brigade received $1500 for a generator, essential during dangerous and possibly extended power failures similar to the one experienced during the devastating 'Black Summer' bushfires, which destroyed hundreds of homes and claimed numerous lives.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston, whose office handed out the funds as part of a National Volunteer Week announcement, said the "bushfires had a devastating impact on many of our people and communities", now "living through a global pandemic".
"Volunteers freely give their time and skills to support others and will play a key role in communities over the next few months. This funding recognises the sacrifices they make to help deliver vital services to those who need it most," Ms Ruston said.
During the fires in January this year the Nethercote area lost power for a week, the brigade said in their application.
"This generator will mean that operations at the fire shed can be carried out normally if there is a power failure."
Information from the minister's office indicated Jellat Jellat, Tanja, and Wolumla fire brigades were unsuccessful in grant applications for essential equipment including forward looking infrared cameras, tablets for electronic mapping and navigation, a quick fill pump, hoses and couplings and a generator.
Surf club turned evacuation centre helped with funding
Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club received $5000 for the purchase of an essential generator in preparation for further disaster scenarios.
The club became an evacuation centre during the recent bushfire emergency.
"Bermagui SLSC through its volunteer members recently participated in the response effort regarding the bushfire crisis in our region," the club said in its application.
"Our clubhouse was a local emergency evacuation centre and saw over 5000 come through our doors. A crisis of this magnitude was unprecedented with many unprepared or not able to cope with the influx of locals and tourists seeking shelter.
"Our volunteers provided support to other emergency services and the community and behaved in a manner as would be expected through their countless training hours providing first aid, emotional care and a local hub at which to gather.
"Our crisis debrief highlighted a significant impact on our ability to provide fresh food, charging points and stay up to date on emergency messaging, was our lack of power.
"A generator was identified as an essential asset for our club to ensure future service provision is unhindered, the care of the community is not compromised and we remain an effective support unit to our community."
Fire brigades miss out on volunteer week funding for equipment
Tanja fire brigade had sought an Apple iPad, used as an electronic mapping and navigation device to enhance safety, for their firefighting vehicles, a much-needed air conditioner for the brigade's fire shed and a generator.
Their application was unsuccessful, according to the minister's office.
"A generator would provide much needed backup power to the fire shed during power failures, which are common in the location. Local grid power supply is vulnerable during bush fires," the brigade said in their application.
Jellat Jellat fire brigade had applied for a grant for forward looking infrared cameras, used to detect 'hot-spots', which they say is "a vital piece of emergency services fire fighting and safety equipment".
The brigade said the equipment is "critical in enabling rural fire brigades to completely 'black out' a burnt area to ensure that reignition does not occur".
"The two cameras and chargers will be carried in our two larger fire fighting appliances and will be used for both training scenarios and operational incidents," the brigade said in their application.
"The cameras will greatly increase the brigade's operational capability and will also contribute to the training and expertise of the volunteer members."
Wolumla fire brigade had sought an essential quick fill pump, hoses and couplings.
"We have very little water reticulation in our designated area," the brigade said in their application.
"Our brigade has undertaken a study of rivers, creeks and dams to ensure quick and adequate water resource are available to tackle fast moving fires such as those experienced in NSW over the past six months.
"Having established a list of these resources we now require the means to fill fire trucks and or helicopters in quick succession, hence the need for a quick fill pump, associated hoses and couplings.
"The ability to undertake this function with haste can be the difference between beating or losing the fire."
Volunteers rebuilding lives after bushfire emergency
The Sapphire Community Pantry Projects received $3600 to help its volunteers who contribute more than 6000 hours of their time per year.
"Most of our volunteers are on low incomes, pensions, or Newstart and include people who are unemployed, recovering from mental health issues and include young adults with autism or other challenges," the organisation said in their application.
"Volunteers are encourage to obtain first-aid certificates, safe food handling and food supervision qualifications and barista training.
"There is also a need for 'accidental counselling' training and personal development training. The provision of funds for fuel and volunteer training relieves an unfair burden of financial cost for the use of private vehicles and training options add the development and well being of volunteers."
Eden Tourism received $2000 to cover partial cost of the purchase of a replacement photocopier for the centre in 2020.
Eden Community Radio had sought $1500 to help its volunteers, who are mainly retired and forced to travel from more remote areas including Wonboyn, Towamba and Kameruka, cover travel costs. Their application was unsuccessful.
"Some volunteers spent periods, over summer, in the bushfire evacuation centres, and a return to a normal routine is welcome therapy to assist in overcoming their trauma," the station said in their application.
"The effort made preparing their radio show, attending the station for the fun and camaraderie, along with the stimulus involved in the technical operations of presenting a show on air, is beneficial to our volunteers' everyday life and mental well-being."