ON JULY 1, 1974 Richard Frost became a retained firefighter at Scone Fire Station after being asked by some of the members if he would be interested.
“I did it for the community,” Mr Frost said.
Things were very different when he first started, everything from the open-topped truck to the way they learnt the ropes.
“Back in the early days training took place in the station, there was no going away,” Mr Frost said.
“It was just turn up and if you got accepted then the older members taught you what they knew.”
Mr Frost said other changes included how the brigade communicated.
“There were no mobile phones, no two-ways.”
“I suppose I have been lucky with having a wife and family who support what I do,” Mr Frost said, mentioning the many late night and indefinite length call-outs.
A call would be directed to the home of a member who would then call the landline phones of any of the crew on call.
The first member to reach the station would sound a siren that could be heard
everywhere around town, to get the attention of members who were not near their homes.
This lack of communication could also take its toll on the families of firefighters, who had no way of knowing what was happening or when they
would be home.
With mobile phones and pagers it is now a lot easier for the station to communicate with the crew, and the firefighters with their families.
Mr Frost said it had been the training he had received in all aspects of the job that he enjoyed the most in his almost four decades of service.
Retained firefighters get trained in all aspects of the job, from operating the equipment on the truck to rescue operations.
It is this training, as well as being able to help their community, that Mr Frost hopes will convince more members of the younger generation join.
“I’d recommend any (interested) young guys join the brigade.”
While there may be some times when things don’t go the way everyone hopes, it is being able to do what you can that Mr Frost values.
“Showing up to a kitchen or house fire and you are able to save it or saving someone from an accident (feels good).”
Mr Frost’s retirement at the end of this month will be the third for the year, and leaves four positions vacant at the station.
He encourages anyone who would like to do their part to help the community to join, saying that if his knees weren’t giving up on him he would keep going.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time with the brigade; if I had my time again I would do the same.”