For 55 years the Dubbo Rescue Squad has been one of the first responders when someone in the community finds themselves in trouble but now they are asking for help.
The rescue squad’s headquarters in Cobra Street is falling into disrepair, has become a target for thieves and is no longer big enough to hold all of their equipment.
The building’s roof is covered by tarpaulins, the ceiling is falling down inside and there are cracks in the walls that you can fit a finger in.
Now they are hoping that they will be able to secure enough funding to significantly renovate their headquarters and make it a facility that can meet their needs and ensure they serve the community to the highest possible standard.
Rescue Squad captain David Chenhall said the squad was hoping it could secure government funding to make the new building a reality.
He said the squad wasn’t looking for a new location or a brand new building, but wanted to bring the existing building up to standard and expand it to fit equipment.
“The first thing is we don’t have enough storage for all our vehicles. We have a two-truck vehicle bay and we have three vehicles and two trailers,” Mr Chenhall said.
“Our current meeting area, conference room and kitchen is one room and it makes it hard to try and run multiple jobs.
“The concept for our redesigned building has a separate office area, meeting room and kitchen, as well as places where our members can rest during big operations.”
Unlike other emergency services such as NSW Police, NSW Fire and Rescue and the State Emergency Service, the rescue squad gets very little assistance from government.
The NSW government provides $1.3 million for the Volunteer Rescue Association, which is divided up amongst approximately 58 locations. That money goes towards training, insurance and about $2000 a year for uniforms.
The squad has to fund its own day-to-day running costs including vehicle maintenance, building upkeep and costs of responding to emergencies.
The Dubbo Regional Council provides $11,000 a year to assist with that.
“We have to rely on grants or fundraise within the community if we want to a new building or vehicle,” Rescue squad senior deputy captain Neil Sturrock said.
Mr Chenhall said the rescue squad would be looking for government funding opportunities in the near future.