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Volunteer puts life on line to save properties

BUSY ROLE: Rural fire brigade officer Dave Kretschmer.
BUSY ROLE: Rural fire brigade officer Dave Kretschmer. Christopher Chan

DAVID Kretschmer has a big family and a big heart.

And when it comes to saving lives and property, he's not afraid to feel the heat.

The 48-year-old father-of-five is among 3152 Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland central Queensland volunteers who put their lives on the line every time there's a natural disaster in the region.

>> Volunteer firefighters save the state millions

Today he will wear a yellow ribbon to help raise awareness of the volunteers' work.

The engineer juggles work at Queensland Alumina with his Benaraby brigade first officer duties.

A firefighter with 10 years' experience under his belt, Mr Kretschmer has faced the fury of fires and the aftermath of a cyclone.

"I was at the Rocky fires in 2009-10 up at Mt Morgan and Mt Archer," he said.

"I went to help out after Cyclone Yasi around the Ingham area and got in and did some clean-up work there.

"Other members of my crew have been on other deployments - we've had a couple of crews go up to Rocky after the floods there, hosing out buildings and that sort of stuff."

He said the work was often arduous.

"We try to have a bit of community spirit - it's tough at times, when we're actually responding to fires, when the conditions are bad," Mr Kretschmer said.

"It can be very tough, very physically demanding, very mentally demanding, but we also have a fair amount of good camaraderie.

"We try to have social events every so often just to bring everybody together, to get to know each other better because at the end of the day there's no Red Adair working to save the world single-handedly.

"We all work as a team."

Mr Kretschmer said he loved being in the brigade because it was something he could do for the community.

He said he hoped the community would support Yellow Ribbon Day.

"(It's about) highlighting the work that's done by volunteer organisations - not just fire brigades," he said.

"There's a lots of people out there helping out - doing things for different organisations.

"A lot of people probably don't realise that a lot of things that happen in the community are done by unpaid volunteers."

Topics:  fire, gladstone, natural disaster, volunteer firefighters



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