Meet some of the team feeding our firies

There is plenty of room left in the Gloucester Catering Brigade's kitchen for more volunteers. Photo Anne Keen
There is plenty of room left in the Gloucester Catering Brigade's kitchen for more volunteers. Photo Anne Keen

Not all NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers are on the fire ground, some are in the kitchen making sure the fire fighters are well fed.

Gloucester Catering Brigade has been quite busy making around 7000 sandwiches since the end of August. But it's not just sandwiches these volunteers have been making, they also provide the crews with a hot dinner.

According to brigade captain, Lorraine Adams the hot meal is either served in the Gloucester headquarters at 3-5 Lowe Street, or it's taken straight to the fire ground. It all depends on what's happening with the fire.

When in action, brigade works from 7am until after dinner is served seven days a week. They ensure each firie gets lunch, plenty of water and a snack pack full of protein rich foods. Everything they provide is covered by the State Government, which pocket of money it comes from, depends on the level of fire declared.

According to Stuart Robb from the NSW RFS, each fire truck is stocked up to be self-sufficient for up to 12 hours, so the catering crew may not always be needed.

"It's based on the duration of the incident, on a case-by-case basis," Mr Robb explained.

Chips and Gatorade, that's what they want.

Lorraine Adams

During the recent fire crisis, the Gloucester brigade has been busy as it's one of two in the region, the other being in Tuncurry, and one of the best ways for people to help out is to stop by.

"We're here from 7am every morning, people can come by and offer a helping hand," Lorraine said.

And that's exactly what newcomer to Gloucester, Jo Davidson did.

"I've put my name down for fire fighting but as no one would be able to train me right now, I thought I'd come help out in the kitchen," Jo explained.

When it comes to donating food items, it's best to find out what's needed first.

"Chips and Gatorade, that's what they want," Lorraine said. "And fruit, we can always use more fruit."

Items need to be compact and easy for the crews to carry with them, like the small packets of chips.

The Gloucester brigade currently consists of around 20 volunteers and they've been working in shifts since August 21 when a section 44 was declared in the region. They had about a month break in late September before the section 44 was redeclared which was current at the time of print.

Crews from around the region are still fighting the fires on the Thunderbolts Way, north west of Gloucester, at Giro and Woko National Park.