Community helps firies to change their socks (at a safe distance)

RFS and community organisation representatives at the RFS Communications Command Centre Kariong.

Woy Woy CWA joined with other community organisations in the region to “pull their socks up for the firies” and donate 463 cooling neckties and 400 pairs of fire-rated socks to the Central Coast RFS on November 10.

After discovering that RFS volunteers were not supplied with fire-rated socks as part of their uniform, Woy Woy CWA and Central Coast Disaster Relief started a GoFundMe page to help raise money to purchase the socks. 

Woy Woy CWA President Jane Bowtell said they started the fundraiser in February and had managed to raise some money even through the worst of COVID-19.

“We sourced the socks from a local business in Gosford, and the neckties were all handmade by the CWA ladies,” Bowtell said.

“The GoFundMe is still active and ticking away, the more socks we can get on their feet will help to start the dialogue of why they don’t get supplied the socks in the first place.”

Central Coast Disaster Relief Founder Carly Pal said she was shocked when she discovered that fire-rated socks cost up to $45 a pair.

“When we were at the height of the fires we visited every RFS across the Central Coast, and one of the biggest things that we found out was the cost of fire-rated socks, which is a huge burden on the volunteers,” Pal said.

“The alternative is synthetic socks which melt to their skin, so there really isn’t a better option.”

Owner of Workin’ Gear, located in Gosford, Craig Giles said he was approached by Jane to help supply the socks for the fundraiser.

“After speaking to Jane about the initiative I approached Wilderness Wear, which is an Australian company who make merino tread, fire-rated socks, and they came to the party fantastically,” Giles said.

“Between the two of us, we were able to supply the socks at an incredibly reasonable price.

“To have these fantastic community organisations on the Coast, which not only support the RFS but also support small businesses in the area is just amazing.”

Central Coast RFS Operations Inspector Frank Overton said it was an important community arrangement that would help the firefighters during the hotter months.

“The firefighters need fire-resistant socks which aren’t always that easy to get,” Overton said.

“I think this is a really great initiative, and there are around 400 socks here, so a lot of our firefighters will get a pair.”

Hayley McMahon