Fire! Fire! Fire! The call that stirs the blood of our speaker this week – Bruce Hansell.  Bruce is a volunteer member of the Berrima Rural Fire Service, carrying on from his participation with the RFS in Armidale.  His total service spans over 12 years, during which he has earned a number of qualifications to help him fight fires and attend serious traffic accidents.  He is also qualified to drive one of those big red trucks, which I am sure many of us would like to do as well.
Not satisfied with just the RFS activity, he is also an active member of the Bowral Men’s shed and the U3A organisation as well as doing volunteer driving for the NSW Cancer Council.  He has kindly offered to see if the Men’s Shed can do some urgently needed repairs to our Rotary lectern.
Bruce regaled us with statistics that highlighted the importance of the RFS in our communities and also covered some interesting aspects of the history of the Berrima unit, which currently has 15 active volunteers and five new joiners in training.  However, he did note that the membership was over 40 in the early days, but the reduced numbers reflect the increased involvement of other bodies such as the SES, NSW Fire & Rescue, NSW Forestry and the CFU.  He assured us the relationship with these bodies is in good working order despite some issues that arose during the Tathra fires.
He finally ran through some of the unique equipment they have housed in their shed in Berrima and noted the changes and improvements that have occurred in this area in recent years.  In this regard, he thanked the Club for our proposed contribution towards the purchase of a pretty fancy stand-alone LED lighting system that will be a handy addition for their night-time work – particularly at vehicle accidents which make up around 90 per cent of the callouts at Berrima.
Berrima Marketplace Playground Upgrade
We seem to be finally zeroing in on a Concept Plan that should meet the approval of most stakeholders, although no doubt there will still be one or two dissatisfied customers. This will now have to go to the next available Council and then on to public display to allow community feedback.  We need to achieve certain milestones by August of this year to satisfy the NSW Government funding  requirements, so the timetable will inevitably be tight.