Rural firefighters are forced to ask the public for donations so they can buy face masks for brave volunteers
- Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade treasurer Joe Arena issued the plea on Facebook
- Mr Arena hoped to raise enough for P3 masks that filter out dust particles
- He said volunteers had been making do with much less effective dust masks
A rural fire brigade has been forced to crowdfund to buy face masks desperately needed for volunteers.
Joe Arena, treasurer of Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade, has urged crowd-funded donations.
The call for funds comes after Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the government wouldn’t be paying Rural Fire Service volunteers because they ‘want to be out there’.
Joe Arena, the treasurer of Copacabana Rural Fire Brigade has turned to crowd funding to help buy essential fire fighting masks
In the post, Mr Arena explained the rural brigade had been ‘manning three trucks on rotating shifts for two weeks to fight the Hawkesbury and Central Coast sections of the mega fire’, while sending valuable members to fight blazes further north.
‘Our brigade has been desperately trying to protect homes and property – completely exhausted – and I’m horrified to say this, using RFS-issued dust masks to protect our airways,’ he said.
‘In defence of the RFS, these are unprecedented conditions, on a scale no one could have anticipated, but we have no choice but to go out and fight fire with what we have.’
The firefighting team said they hoped to raise enough funds to buy ‘one for every seat on our heavily used bush trucks’.
RFS firefighters and volunteers said they need P3 face masks to filter out fine dust particles (stock image)
On Wednesday afternoon, the rural brigade said they received enough donations to buy P3 masks which block fine particles when fitted over the nose and mouth.
‘We would like to thank everyone who supported our appeal for the purchase of face masks for our firefighters,’ they wrote on Facebook.
‘We are humbled by the generosity of the community, and we have achieved our original objective and will use any excess funds to purchase masks for neighbouring brigades. Thank You!’
The Rural Fire Service has confirmed more than 720 homes have been destroyed over the fire season.
There were almost 90 fires burning across NSW, with 40 uncontained.
The NSW Rural Fire Service hosed down claims volunteer firefighters weren’t provided with ‘necessary tools and equipment’ to do their work.
A spokesman for the NSW RFS told Daily Mail Australia that any brigades that required new equipment including masks were encouraged to ‘raise this with their district in the first instance.’
After a successful public campaign, the rural brigade said on Facebook they received enough donations to buy P3 masks