Get Ready Weekend at Valla draws crowd | photos

THERE were no favours for dad when Valla’s Wayne Pade set the challenge.

He told son Lachie and young firefighter and Valla Rural Fire Service Brigade member Byron Voss-Rundle, that they could hit him with the hose – but they had to sit in the Cat 7 truck, and had just 30 seconds to do so.

“I thought I’d be pretty right by the time they got the pump going and had the hose out and water … but they nailed me for about 20 seconds,” brigade deputy captain Wayne laughed.

It was just one far from orchestrated moment of Get Ready weekend where NSW RFS brigades threw open their shed doors to reach out to residents ahead of what has already been a challenging bushfire season.

The event at Valla was perhaps the best attended in the brigade’s open day history – some 50 residents came by to seek advice and enjoy a sausage sizzle.

“Everyone was briefed about how to make a Bushfire Survival Plan, and we had a number of new residents to the area from urban backgrounds attend so that was especially pleasing,” brigade community engagement officer Christian Knight said.

“And half a dozen people expressed an interest in joining the brigade so that is always welcomed.”

As with any event, it was the work of many who contributed to the success. The brigade’s new secretary/treasurer June Thompson did the legwork on the catering front, barbecue tong-master Pat Wolf turned the snags, and Nambucca Heads resident Daria Christie helped deliver the personal flyers to near on 300 letterboxes in Valla.

Brigade stalwarts John Elliott and Martin Cresswell would have been there – but they’d had an “all-nighter” patrolling and blacking out at Missabotti.

“Simply could not have been prouder of the brigade in welcoming the residents to the shed and talking to them about their properties and how they might be best prepared,” Christian said.