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Greater funding to better equip local RFS

Whiporie Brigade Rural Fire Service is now better equipped and prepared for a major fire incident after taking out the December round of Greater Bank’s #GreaterNorthernRivers community funding program.

After receiving $2000 for winning the public vote, the brigade has taken stock of a high-powered air blower to assist in backburning exercises, which play a vital role in helping to minimise the impact of catastrophic fire incidents, similar to those experienced in 2019.

Based in the village of Whiporie, 50km south of Casino, the volunteer brigade attends fires and motor vehicle accidents across the Richmond Valley region, while its active members also take on deployments to other areas across the state to provide emergency response.

Brigade Captain, Keith Small, said they had been looking to purchase the piece of equipment for some time however they were unable to do so due to funding.

“The air blower is a simple piece of equipment that helps us to better control backburning or other fire prevention exercises, as well as controlling other grass fires,” Keith said.

“It’s been more than two years since the last significant fires in the region and the grass and bushlands have regenerated very well since that time. While conditions are currently favourable, there will be a time in the future when the ground dries out and there will again be a significant amount of fuel that has the potential to create major issues if a fire goes through the area.

“The air blower will help us to effectively conduct backburning in the cooler months when conditions are more favourable, which we hope will prevent a major incident from occurring in the region.

Brigade Captain Keith Small, Whiporie Brigade Rural Fire Service

“We’re only a small brigade so funding for additional equipment like this is challenging. This funding from Greater Bank through the #GreaterNorthernRivers program is invaluable and is set to make a significant impact in our community through fire prevention.”

Greater Bank Regional Sales Manager, Scott McCluskey, said the new community funding program is already making a noticeable impact on services that are making a real difference to the lives of locals.

“Whiporie Brigade Rural Fire Service is a small organisation that provides an incredible service during a time of great need. What these volunteers did for the local community during the 2019 fires, many of whom were facing damage to their own properties at the time, was remarkable,” Scott said.

“The #GreaterNortherRivers program not only better equips the brigade but also enables the community to say, ‘thank you’ for the wonderful role they play.”

The December round runners-up, Australian Seabird Rescue Inc. Ballina Byron Sea Turtle Hospital (Ballina) and Northern Rivers Suicide Prevention and Awareness Group (Lismore) each received $500.

Voting in the January round of the #GreaterNorthernRivers Community Funding Program is now open, with Jumbunna Community Preschool and Early Intervention Centre (Casino), Our Kids - Northern Rivers Children's Health Fund (Lismore) and Association of Veteran Surfers Ballina Byron Inc. in the running for a share of $3,000 for the month.

The public can vote online at until 5:00pm, Wednesday, 2 February 2022.

Nominations for future monthly rounds of the #GreaterNorthernRivers community funding program are also open.

Community groups, such as grassroots sporting clubs, school P&C associations, charities and not-for-profit volunteer-run organisations can nominate by visiting and explain in 100 words or less, how they are helping to improve the lives of locals.

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