Gratitude for Pearl Beach Rural Fire Service

Pearl Beach residents and friends are being encouraged to attend a community afternoon tea to thank the Pearl Beach Rural Fire Service team.

The afternoon tea will be held at the Pearl Beach Progress Association Hall on Saturday, November 18, at 3pm.

Those attending will also have the opportunity to meet the newly appointed RFS president Andrew Leigh and members of the brigade.

Organisers ask attendees to bring a plate to share while tea and coffee will be provided.

“This is a great chance for everyone to get to know our local crew and what they actually do,” Pearl Beach Progress Association spokesperson Lynne Lillico said.

Bush fires were a major concern for the early settlers in Pearl Beach.

The formation of a brigade to fight bush fires came very early and for many years was a significant reason for the continuing existence of the progress association which formed in 1929.

In the early days the only water available for firefighting was the water in the creeks, springs and wells and in private water tanks.

Mostly the firefighters cleared fire breaks using shovels, axes, hoes, mattocks and tried to beat out encroaching flames with green boughs cut from the trees, or beaters made of canvas or hessian attached to pieces of wood and fitted with handles.

These beaters were soaked in water where possible to make them more effective and were later supplemented by knapsack sprays.

The fire brigade was composed entirely of local volunteers who lived in the valley or were visiting for the summer holidays.

At the first sign of a fire, an alarm was sounded summoning volunteers to gather, and as there were not many vehicles available to transport them, some firefighters came on bicycles and others on foot.

“We now fortunately have well equipped vehicles and a support network, but we always need more,” Lillico said.

“The Pearl Beach Rural Fire Brigade, and all brigades, hold a special place in our lives, a place that we should as a community be proud of and support, and one that we appreciate every day.”

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