New Recruit Lends Hand In Grampians

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Just three months as a CFA volunteer and Smythesdale brigade member Lisa Thompson has already put her hand up to assist in a Grampians strike team for her first campaign fire last month.

Having only started in December last year and with only 11 call outs under her belt, Lisa did not hesitate at the opportunity to lend a hand to the communities in need.

The experience was made sweeter, as she joined her dad, Darryl Thompson, who has been involved in Napoleons-Enfield Fire Brigade for nearly 30 years in the strike team that headed to the recently contained bushfire in Dadswell Bridge.

“I put my name forward straight away. I’d done a few call outs over recent weeks, so I wanted to make sure I was comfortable to do it. You’ve got to be in the position to protect your teams and everyone else as well,” Lisa said.

“I had responded to Staffordshire Reef fire the day before for 11 hours, and I knew dad was there too with Napoleans, but I’d only seen him once and waved to him briefly. I was at the base of the fire, and he was at the start of it.

“We both got accepted to join the strike teams at Dadswell Bridge, so we caught up at different points and had a coffee as we refilled. He checked on me at the end of each day to see how I was going, so it was nice to have his support nearby.”

Lisa had just returned from a week of annual leave from her role as a disability house supervisor, arriving home from a cruise at 12pm before getting called out just three hours later.

“I was refreshed and ready to go. But not knowing what to expect was confronting. The crew that I went up with were great and helped me adjust knowing I was new,” Lisa said.

“I got a lot of praise from the crew leader, so that was nice to know I did a good job.”

Working with multiple brigades and emergency services over the week, Lisa said seeing everyone come together to put in their best efforts to protect the life and property of the region was a fulfilling experience.

“It didn’t matter what brigade you were from, you supported each other. Especially at rest stops, we’d just chat with other brigades and learn more about one another,” Lisa said.

“I bumped into one of the guys from Bacchus Marsh that came through my training, so it was nice to see him getting involved early on too.

“It’s just amazing how everyone works together and looks after each other, not just on the fire ground but also in general wellbeing and fatigue management. It was very impressive.”

While her dad has been heavily involved in CFA, it was the local females who Lisa crossed paths with that ultimately got her through the doors.

“They were saying such great things. I was hesitant being a female, but they mentioned quite a few had joined recently so I thought why not.

“I got my partner, Jake, to move across from Smeaton and it’s been such a positive experience. I think dad was prouder of me joining CFA than when I graduated year 12.

“The Smythesdale brigade have been incredible. They are so supportive, and they’ve encouraged me to get out in the field and learn on the job.”

/CFA News Release. View in full here.