VRA Rescue NSW anticipates it will have a new VRA squad up and running in Manilla within the next six months.
The announcement follows a town hall meeting in Manilla to discuss the new squad proposal on Saturday, February 10, which organisers said drew a good crowd. A spokesperson for VRA Rescue NSW said a number of people had expressed an interest in signing up for the new squad during the meeting.
VRA Rescue NSW is a not-for-profit volunteer-based organisation accredited with the NSW State Rescue Board to provide emergency response services and capabilities across NSW.
Speaking following the meeting, VRA Rescue NSW Commissioner, Brenton Charlton, was happy with the numbers attending the meeting - with up to 100 people dropping in throughout the day and 20 to 30 staying for the duration - and the level of interest in forming a new Manilla squad.
He said the new squad would be set up under the new leadership and organisational structure of VRA Rescue NSW.
"Rescue NSW's intent is to raise people who are new to volunteering for the squad," Commissioner Charlton said.
"We also would like to leverage off the existing services in the town [to create] a multi-agency, composite team - leveraging off the existing resources within the community [means] rather than having one person join one agency, [people from other agencies] can come down and learn rescue skills and use the gear to support the town."
Commissioner Charlton hopes to see the new squad up and running within the next six months - trained and ready with new vehicles and equipment - and based out of the existing VRA premises in Manilla.
"We have been given a valuable opportunity to reset and establish a strong and capable rescue squad that will benefit Manilla and surrounding areas," he said.
"We're really looking forward to providing this crucial service, but you know, what's equally important is how we work alongside all the emergency service agencies in the area - we're talking about NSW Police, NSW SES, NSW RFS, Fire and Rescue NSW, and NSW Ambulance."
Tamworth mayor Russell Webb supports the new rescue squad being based in Manilla.
"It is simply fantastic to have the VRA Rescue squad operational again in the township of Manilla," he said.
"These services will provide rescues and critical support for the community in times of need, so it is great to have members available to help out in emergency situations.
"It will also provide opportunities for individuals to upskill and assist the community, regardless of their previous experience levels."
Commissioner Charlton said the VRA was looking for people who were ready and willing to give back to their community, who had a passion for helping others, and a can-do attitude to learn new skills and challenge themselves.
"We have some of the best trainers from across the state who'll train up the new team straight away," he said.
"There's no prior experience required for any of our roles and we'll provide all the training, Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) and Equipment (PPE) you'll need to be part of the team.
"So whether you have a trade, work in an office or caring for people at home, there's a volunteer career for you! So, if you see yourself in green, come and join the team at VRA Rescue NSW," he said.
VRA Rescue NSW qualified operators from squads across the state were at the Town Hall outlining our core capabilities, fleet, and rescue equipment including.
Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer with VRA Rescue NSW can sign up at the VRA Rescue NSW website.