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Hurting our heroes

DEJECTED: Our region's emergency service volunteers are being abused and threatened with violence while on the job.
DEJECTED: Our region's emergency service volunteers are being abused and threatened with violence while on the job. Jordan Philp

VERBAL assaults, threats of physical violence, shoving and facing aggressors with firearms.

These are not the sort of things emergency volunteers should have to contend with while on duty. But they do.

During the Australia Day floods, South Nanango volunteer firefighters were threatened by a man with a gun at a road closure on Barkers Creek Rd, between Nanango and Kingaroy.

Volunteer community educator for South Nanango Tracey Goldsmith said it was "defeating", but not an isolated incident. "It is frightening and really disheartening that there are these people who don't appreciate what we do and go as far as threatening us," Mrs Goldsmith said.

"It isn't just fire fighters having to go through this, a lot of the other emergency services are dealing with the abuse of unappreciative people.

"We have responded to calls to go out to properties to fight out-of-control fires and had our guys shoved and blamed for not stopping it from spreading quickly enough."

Mrs Goldsmith said it "badly hurt" the volunteers when they were disrespected in the line of duty.

"It takes its toll on volunteers," she said. "It is such a defeating feeling to give up time with your family or your job to be treated like that.

"It makes you wonder why you're doing it, but you have to keep going on because it is our duty. (These people) really need to try volunteering to appreciate what a volunteer does and what a volunteer gives up to help."

 

What do you think of reports about our volunteers being threatened with violence and abused? Email us at editorial @southburnetttimes.com.au.

South Burnett

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