Like everyone else in the Narrabri community, Narrabri Volunteer Rescue Squad has had its activities severely curtailed by the lockdown rules.

The weekly training program has been suspended, at the direction of the VRA Commissioner.

With the large amount of equipment carried by the squad, and the many responsibilities it has as the NSW State Rescue Board’s General Land Rescue Response

Unit for the area, ongoing training had been much and varied, covering all aspects of the squad’s activities.

At present, members are joining online training sessions on a number of subjects, but it will be so much better once we are allowed back to our usual arrangements.

Similarly, management meetings have been put on hold, with the squad hierarchy making necessary decisions and paying the bills as they come in.

There is normally a meeting every six weeks, and all members are involved in the running of their organisation.

In the meantime, the squad is on a sound footing, and is in good hands.

Fundraising is on hold as well, but the squad is in a position to get by without its usual winter firewood raffles and the weekly activities at the Namoi Hotel, in the short term.

We are not alone in this, and everyone in Narrabri and beyond is equally affected.

It would be good to have a working bee, but that is something else that will have to wait.

Any urgent and necessary tasks are handled by individual members as required, so that all trucks are ready to go at any time, and the vital equipment is in sound condition.

The one thing that hasn’t been affected by this serious disruption is the squad’s ability and preparedness to respond as tasked by whoever, at any time.

There have been no calls on the squad for serious accident responses since the lockdown, but members have been to several jobs concerning snakes being not where they should be, and assistances to the Ambulance, etc.

The statewide mid year conference that was to be held in Narooma this month is off as well.

That and the annual conference, which will be delayed until probably November some time, are the two opportunities for members from right across the VRA, which reaches from Tweed Heads, out to Norfolk Island, down to Bega and West to Balranald, to get together and contribute to the operation of their organisation.

This year, or more precisely, May 24, 2020, marks the 45th anniversary of the formation of the squad, in the then Narrabri Municipality.

In 2015, for the 40th anniversary, there was a big celebration with a dinner at the RSL Club.

That cannot happen this year, which is very disappointing.

It is a credit to the town and the squad members that from a very tentative start with so little gear so long ago, Narrabri VRA has grown to be a capable and professional volunteer organisation that has saved many lives and relieved a lot of suffering, whatever and whenever asked.

Once the COVID-19 virus constraints are relieved, the squad will be back to normal once more, progressing towards the next 45 years.

It will be for certain that the Narrabri community will be behind them all the way.

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