NO MATTER if she is near or far from home, 21-year-old Kristin Blight is willing to jump on the truck when the need arises.
Following in the footsteps of her dad, Blight is a Rosebud firefighter who came up through the Boneo junior ranks.
From June to September 2023, her CFA volunteerism stretched even further when she headed to Mount Buller for the snow season and had the opportunity to join the local brigade while working there.
“Shortly after I arrived at Mount Buller for the season, Commander Paul Scragg was doing a walk through our building with the brigade captain, so I thought I’d introduce myself. They invited me to go down to the station for training,” Blight said.
“It was a lot of fun and my brigade back home said to give it a go. It was an amazing experience to work with the people up there – they were so welcoming. I’d definitely recommend it to anyone who is traveling a lot and is still keen to maintain their skills, meet new people and experience something different.
“It was really hard leaving the Mount Buller members. They’ve already invited me to go back to the brigade when I return to the snow this year.”
Across the three months, Blight was exposed to incidents that starkly contrasted to those faced at Rosebud.
“The main difference was obviously working with snow and ice because I’m so used to responding to incidents in drier conditions or wet days,” she said. “Instead of road accidents and house fires, I was responding to apartment alarm calls where I learned a lot about switchboards and the different protectors in buildings.
“The terrain was also very challenging, with a few accidents on the hill and down the winding roads. Some cars would end up on the side of the road in the trees, so we had to navigate that.”
Leading from the front as a young CFA volunteer, Blight was grateful she was able to continue serving the Victorian community while away for work. She encourages new, emerging members to embrace the wisdom of brigade superiors.
“I will always advocate for CFA and the inclusive environment that comes with it, and if you’re wanting to join, just go for it,” Blight said.
“Get involved and listen to your superiors around you, especially the older members who’ve been in the brigade for more than 50 years, because they have a wealth of knowledge and they love sharing it.”