Kingy crew on fire with calls
THEY'RE based out of a tiny beach-front station and have no full-time staff but the crew at Kingscliff Fire and Rescue have been as busy as ever.
With the population on the Tweed Coast and surrounds booming, captain Brett Gray said they had seen a notable increase in call-outs of all kinds, particularly road incidents.
Mr Gray has been a retained firefighter for the past 28 years, 16 of which in Kingscliff.
He said there had been a 30 per cent increase in calls in the past two years and a much greater spike since he joined the station.
"Sixteen years ago, the station was doing about 120calls (a year),” Mr Gray said.
"Currently we're looking at about 400 calls this current financial year.”
He said the surge in popularity of the region accounted for much of this change.
"The significant increase in calls is definitely coming with the growth in population in the Kingscliff district and also in the surrounding areas including Tweed Heads and as far down as Pottsville Beach,” Mr Gray said.
"The one big area that is certainly increasing at the fastest rate is motor vehicle accidents.
"I think with the population and the current infrastructures, there's more opportunity for accidents.”
Mr Gray said his 16-strong retained workforce - which mostly operates on an on-call basis with firefighters who have at least one other job - had to arrive at the station and be on the way to any incident within seven minutes of a call.
"You have to guarantee a minimum of four people 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” he said.
"It is a big commitment for the guys to do the job they do.”
But as the population continues to grow, he said an upgrade to their Marine Pde facilities would be essential.
"This is an April 1968 version that hasn't had any renovations,” he said.
"It is a bit of a tight squeeze under current arrangements. It'd be lovely to get a renovation in some way, shape or form but that will be at the consideration of the local member and Fire and Rescue NSW.”
The announcement of the location of the new Tweed Hospital is expected before Christmas.
If a site close to Kingscliff is chosen - tipped as a strong possibility - Mr Gray said bolstered facilities would be vital.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest was approached for comment.