IT’S testimony to the extreme fire threat of this year’s savage summer that Redesdale residents still have their cars packed, ready to flee.
Owen and Gay Shannon are among those on alert.
For the first time in the 17 years they have lived in their Redesdale bluestone cottageopposite the CFA station, they have had their car packed and ready to leave all summer.
With March not over, the car is still packedand they know others in town who have also had their cars packed all summer for the first time.
“It’s been such a sustained, savage hot spell this year,” Mrs Shannon said.
On Old Ford Road, CFA volunteer Carolyn Boyd and her family is also at the ready.
”We still have our car packed just in case, because we have learnt this year what a risk it is to us,” Ms Boyd said.
Firefighter of 18 years Paul Atkins said this summer has been the busiest year ever.
Redesdale CFA which has had a lot of call outs this fire season for a tiny brigade. Picture: GLENN DANIELS
The little township of 300, encircled by tinder-dry grass and bush, has been menaced by fire no fewer than 31 times since Christmas.
But just one house was lost – and no lives.
It has been the plucky core of 10 or so Redesdale firefightervolunteers, with two red trucks and one ute, who have leapt to save houses, livestock, properties and potentially, lives.
Mr Shannon saidthe Redesdale CFA, whohe dubs“the yellow angels,” do a wonderful job.
Without the CFA the town would have been lost, he said.
“If there was no fire brigade here, we would have lost the town,” he said.
“They have worked to the point of exhaustion and beyond.
“They give up their time, leave their families and their farms and risk their lives.”
Redesdale CFA radio communications volunteer Carolyn Boyd collapsed from exhaustion one night after working non-stop until 2am and had to be hospitalised.
And it isn’t just the fire fighting itself – it’s the hours and days of blacking out of firegrounds afterwards, the Shannons say.
“A lot of people in town don’t really realise just how much work they do,” Mrs Shannon said.
Living opposite the CFA station, the Shannons like to help out.
When the fire siren goes,Gay and Owen walk to the stationand open the big garage doors, fill Eskies with drinking water for volunteers and mark on the white board who has turned up to fight.
“It’s great support…it saves us a few minutes,” said Ms Boyd.
The Shannons are among Redesale folk showing their appreciation on Red Balloon Day. They have tied “Thank You Fireys” red balloons to their fence.
Redesdale primary school has also festooned its fence with balloons.
Ms Boyd said after Black Saturday, and the high number of call-outs this summer, people are realising how much the firefighters from Redesdale and the surrounding small CFA brigades do.
“They have saved the town many times,” she said..
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.