The Cessnock District VRA Rescue Squad is affiliated with the NSW Volunteer Rescue Association and is accredited by the State Rescue Board (SRB) as the primary response rescue unit for the vast majority of the Cessnock Local Government Area (LGA).
The Cessnock District VRA Rescue Squad is among the busiest of the VRA squads throughout NSW with the number of operational hours increasing every year. When the squad was first formed over 35 years ago call outs were few and far between, fast forward to the present day and for the 2011 calendar year the following hours of voluntary service were carried out
- Motor vehicle collisions – 764 hours
- Assist Police / Ambulance – 85 hours
- Storm and Tempest – 580 hours
- Animal rescue – 207 hours
- Other call outs – 51 hours
- Training – 1449 hours
- Fundraising – 958 hours
- Public relations – 342 hours
- Maintenance – 699 hours
- Administration – 1061 hours
The cumulative total of the above stated duties equals 6,196 hours of voluntary service within the Cessnock LGA. The average number of members in the squad is 20; this is an average of almost 310 hours annually per member or nearly 6 hours every week. This is a remarkable commitment given that all members are volunteers and receive absolutely no financial payment for their service. Highlighting this commitment even further is the fact that members leave their homes and places of work at all hours day and night to respond to call outs.
Using an estimate of the average hourly rate of pay for allied emergency service personnel the savings provided to the community by this voluntary service can also be estimated by the following calculation – 6,196 hours @ $30.00 / hour = $185,880 annually.
*It is noteworthy that the operational hours increase every year, therefore the savings to the community increase every year.
*It is also noteworthy that not every hour of service provided by squad members is recorded as many tasks go unrecorded.
It is impossible to accurately calculate the savings provided by the voluntary services of members over the squad’s 35 year history however would be safe to assume that the figure would be well over two million dollars.