"In Australia, it is economically impractical to employ the number of emergency service workers to adequately respond to fires or other natural hazards such as storms and floods. As a result, Australia benefits from the benevolent support of around 235,000 emergency services volunteers, many of whom have followed in the footsteps of their family’s tradition to volunteer.
"This volunteering is a way of life for many in communities and has been for a long time. Volunteer fire brigades were established as early as the mid-19th century and emergency and rescue agencies, such as the State Emergency Services, have their origins in the Civil Defence established in the 1950s."
Associate Professor Michael Jones and Dr Yoke Berry
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and the University of Wollongong
Australian Journal of Emergency Management, April 2017