SYDNEY, Feb. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — More than 13,000 Australian tradies have come together to donate their time and skills to those affected by these devastating bushfires.
Described as ‘air-tasker’ for fire relief, Tradies for Fire Affected Communities (TFFAC) aim to provide a long-term plan for a long-term solution, well after the last of the fire trucks leave these burnt-out towns.
The group was set up by carpenter Piers Smart, who shared the following post on January 2, hoping to recruit about 50 mates; "For anyone that’s keen to help out, I’ve just started a little group. For any tradie out there that can offer their time, please join," it read. Three days later, the group had attracted almost 5000 members.
"There’s going to be work to do for months, if not years, and we want to be out there for the long term, not only while it’s on the news and everyone is thinking about it," said Piers Smart.
"Safety is our number one priority at the moment, with up to 80 per cent of burnt houses containing asbestos, which is spreading via asbestos winds. We don’t want to be cowboys and get into people’s ways or put our tradies in danger," he said.
Like many Australians, Piers Smart was feeling helpless not knowing how he could best support those affected by the bushfires. His dad was caught up in the Corryong fires and friends’ houses were razed as fires swept through regional Victoria.
While he couldn’t provide the type of financial support to make a real impact, what he did have was a useful trade and his time, which he would donate freely for as long as it was needed. The group has attracted more than 13,000 members from different professional backgrounds, all volunteering their time to roll it out effectively.
Astonishingly since its inception, the group is already working hard to fulfil its mission – coordinating safe play spaces for children affected by bushfires while convoys of bale-carrying trucks enter towns, and tree-lopping to clear roads, and much more.
"We are calling on Australian tradies out there to register and donate their skills towards long-term fire relief," he said.
"We also need businesses to lend their support and donate equipment, materials and transport to help with the long-term rebuild of these communities, many of who will now be under-insured in light of new fire zones," said Piers Smart.