‘Retirement’ becomes role with bush brigade

David King (foreground centre) with Parkerville Bush Fire Brigade volunteers, from left, Greg Walsh, Chris Caudwell, fire control officer Magnus Ohman and Lieutenant Peter Weis. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d397532
David King (foreground centre) with Parkerville Bush Fire Brigade volunteers, from left, Greg Walsh, Chris Caudwell, fire control officer Magnus Ohman and Lieutenant Peter Weis. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d397532

He started working two days a week for the Shire of Mundaring about 18 months ago, where he oversees nine volunteer brigades, each with 40 to 50 volunteers.

The one-time building materials business owner said he wanted to do volunteer work in the Parkerville community, where he and his family have lived since 1990.

Being on call for the brigade fitted in nicely with his ‘semi-retirement’ plans.

‘I had planned to volunteer for the summer but, here I am, basically committing all my time to the brigade,’ he said.

Mr King has a natural affinity for the bush and enjoys the challenges that working with his teams across the shire present.

He said extra volunteers were always required in the volunteer brigades and he urged anyone who had some spare time to ‘put their hand up’ and join one of the dedicated brigades.

‘In recent years, we have seen an increase in the number of FIFO workers who, when in Perth, are keen to help out, which is fantastic. On the other hand, we sometimes have residents come forward and complete the training, but when the time comes for assistance, they don’t come back,’ he said.

Mr King said volunteers did not just fight fires and helped with ‘mop-ups’ and other natural disasters.

‘We carry out a lot of fuel or hazard reduction burns throughout the year and, of course, being in the Hills this is an ongoing and crucial role,’ he said.

‘But at the end of the day, we must emphasise that it is a personal responsibility ” that residents must be fire-prepared and take stock around their own properties to prevent from losing their assets.’