This is the Home page for the Cudmirrah Berrara Rural Fire Brigade.

Cudmirrah Berrara Rural Fire Brigade.
Established 1958
First Avenue, Cudmirrah  2540
In a fire emergency ring 000
Captain: Daniel Noordermeer   President: Sharon Matthews;  
Vice President: David Berry;

Secretary: Heather Dunnett
Treasurer:Rowena Blakey
Senior Deputy:
Mark Wroe
updated June, 2018

On this page, Brief History, General information on this brigade and links to other pages,
 plus  fire & weather related  websites


Main photo page
Recent Photos
Past  & present Captains and Deputys

Back to main Cudmirrah Berrara Swanhaven Progress Association Homepage

On this home page:
Brief History
About our brigade & general information
A guide to your bushfire safety.
Prepare, Act Survive  Bush Fire danger ratings.
Bush fire  emergency survival kit.
Bushfire Check list  advice on how to prepare your home, what to do if a fire approaches & evacuation
Fire related  and weather links 

Brief History

This brigade commenced in 1958 with Eric Brennan as the first  Captain. They first met at Eric's home and used that as their base for some years, till they built the first  fire shed  for themselves. This was used up till the new fire station was built in 1999-2000. Work commenced on the on the new shed on the  14th November 1999 with voluntary labour  by members and helpers who gave their  time and expertise to see the project completed. The new Fire shed is a credit to their dedication to the job, which is being carried on  in the level of commitment to the ongoing maintenance of both the shed, equipment and vehicles of this brigade. The Fire Shed was completed on the 7th June 2000 and a total of 1400 man hours  went into its construction.
        rfs old shed                       rfs old shed 1
              Old shed shortly before it was pulled down                                  Inside the old shed.

The old shed has been recycled to the Nowra tip. Minus the concrete blocks,the roof forms the entrance to the recycling section of the tip.

The new Fire station was officially opened on the 16th June 2001 by Mayor Greg Watson.  Three past   Captains and present  Captain Mick Newans were pictured at the opening.

    rfs4capt              rfsnewshed    
Left: Four Captains at official opening of Fire station on the 16/6/2000. Left to right Harry Ross,                       Joe Johnson, Mayor Greg Watson, Captain Mick Newans and Barney Lane.
Right: Our new  Fire station.


50th Birthday
An celebratory dinner took place on the 2nd August, 2008 at the Fire Shed to celebrate 50 years of (official) service to this community.  Other photos on "Recent photos".
cbrfs50th1  cbrfs50th2
1.Pictured L to R, the youngest & oldest member of brigade Danielle Shaw  & Wal Gregory, presented life members  with a gift. They are: Phil Carruthers, Steve Whatmough, Danny Rudd and Captain Mick Newans.  
2.Three original members of the CBRFS Fundraisers  were recognised for their 28  years of work for the Brigade. L to R Helen Taylor, Grace Lloyd and Nancy Cairns pictured with Wal Gregory

Talk given by Grace Lloyd at the 50th birthday of the CBRF Brigade on the 2nd August 2008, with her memories from 1980 on how the CBRFB Fundraiser ladies came into operation to support our Brigade:

My memories of the Fundraisers only goes back to 1980. Other ladies would know much more of the earlier happenings of the Fundraisers.

The Fundraisers was formed after the bad fires in October of 1980, when the wives and other members of our community decided that our firemen needed more than vegemite sandwiches and pikelets to eat when fighting fires, so we formed a committee headed by Joyce Allan to raise money for necessary items for our men. We bought large pressure thermos flasks and had an understanding with Cudmirrah shop that in an emergency we could get bread, milk etc and pay later.

Later we paid Lee Bowman $200 to clear a strip for a fire break from Berrara Road to Cudmirrah, which we did yearly until the water and sewer came on. We bought tarps for unroofed houses and a small 4 wheel drive and a water trailer to fight fires. These are a few of the things we bought in the early days of the Fundraisers. Since then we have supplied brigade members  with what was needed in the way of equipment and necessities, as best we can. They know what we have done. To raise funds for the Firies, we started having Mothers Day and Christmas lunches, held Christmas in July, Fundays, Spring Fairs and other money-making activities. We had housie in the school holidays until council insurance costs meant it would cost more than we would make.

In the mid-nineties, after the terrible fires behind Badgee, Rod Rose wanted to disband our fire brigade, but Lorna Armstrong, Helen Clarke and I called a meeting and faced them with the fact that we need our Brigade here.

We won of course, but it was a bitter fight.

In the early days a lot our money went on upgrading the Cudmirrah Berrara Community Hall (the kitchen, toilets, tennis court). We helped pay off a loan of $7000, our share of the toilets.

Over time we have become incorporated and have donated to many sporting bodies and to some children who have represented Australia. We have donated to the Lions Club for the dialysis machine for the local hospital, to the Salvation Army, St Vincent De Paul, Sussex Inlet Day Care Bus and a one off donation to the Mens Shed in Sussex. We always support the RSL books for schools on Anzac Day. We support the Coastal Patrol when needed.

We are all officially Cudmirrah Berrara Rural Fire Brigade members and so most of our endeavours are to keep our Fire Brigade as the best in our area. Nancy Cairns, Helen Taylor and I are three of the original members and are entering our 29th   year as Fundraiser volunteers.

Grace Lloyd (edited by Webmaster)

***Check out our page on past and present deputies and captains for more history.


Click to go back to the top, or scroll down for more on this brigade


Meetings are held the first Wednesday night of the month at 7.30pm.

The Brigade hold regular training days and  have an active social club.

Extensions. The Brigade has recently completed an extension to the Fire Station  to create a separate training area and have more room for vehicles.

 Training Aid.  A new flat screen TV and DVD has been purchased and a large selection of training DVD's are on hand for members to view, specially on training days.  Good use was made of the TV and training DVD's  at our annual open day in September. Ipads have been introduced to our Trucks for navigation and keeping contact with Fire Control during fires.

The cudmirrah Berrara Rural Fire Brigade Fundraisers are members of this Brigade and their main purpose is to raise funds for equipment . They started in November 1980 after a large bushfire and the wives decided to form a group to provide not only  emergency meals for the brigade members but to set about raising money for equipment and vehicles.  There have been some name changes for this group over the years, but they  are still actively raising money for this brigade.
In May 2018 after funds were found to be pilfered from the Brigades' bank account, this very disheartened group who had raised most of the money stolen, decided to call it a day as a seperate fundraising group and disbanded on the 10th May, 2018 transferring the balance of their fundraising account to the Brigade account.
In future the former group of Fundraisers will work directly out of the Brigade ina diminished form owning to falling numbers and the age of those involved.
An end of an era.  

Local Events. Apart from fighting fires in our villages and the surrounding bush, attending alarms and motor vehicle accidents, we participate in the annual Anzac Day March, Choppers for Charity and many other local fundraising events by displaying our vehicles and assisting where needed.

 Area Covered by this Brigade

Where we are: Cudmirrah Berrara Rural Fire Brigade is on the New South Wales south coast, about 50klm from Nowra by road.  Sussex Inlet is our nearest centre for schools, medical,ambulance and shopping and clubs.   For training purposes, we work closely with the Sussex Inlet Rural Fire Service as well as the  Wandandian and Manyana Rural Fire Brigades.  Sussex Inlet Rural Fire Brigade is the closest  brigade to us.  A lot of training is shared by all local brigades.
Group 4.We come under the NSW Rural Fire Service, Southern region and Rural Fire District Group 4 in the Shoalhaven Local Government area.
Tony Mainsbridge demonstrating the correct use of a fire blanket.



A guide to your bush fire safety.


Prepare. Act. Survive.

 For the bush fire season


These pages are a guide only. For more detailed information, go to the RFS website:  

Bush fires are a natural part of the Australian environment and occur regularly, but many people fail to prepare for them. When threatened by bush fires, people will often leave it too late to make critical decisions and often have few safe options left.

That’s why you need to PREPARE, ACT, SURVIVE.

  You must make important decisions before the fire season starts.

 Your Bush Fire Survival Plan is one of the best ways to help improve the safety of you and your family before the impact of, or during a bush fire. 

Preparation is not just about cleaning up around the house and having a plan. It is also about making sure you consider your physical, mental and emotional preparedness. Prepare yourself and your family for bush fires. 

Regardless of your decision to Leave Early or Stay and Defend, you still need to prepare your property against the threat of a bush fire. 

Bush fire  danger ratings: 


The higher the fire danger rating, the more dangerous the conditions. 

Part of knowing what to do is knowing the Bush Fire Danger Ratings.

  • Green - Low to moderate risk of fires
  • Purple -  high 
  • Yellow/Orange – very high   
  • for the above three ratings, review your fire plan. Keep informed, listen to the radio and monitor conditons. Be prepared to act if necessary.
  • Orange - Severe.   Leaving early is the safest option for your survival. Well prepared homes that are actively defendede can provide safety – but only stay if your are physically and mentally prepared to defend in these conditions. If you are not prepared, leave early in the day.
  • Red – Extreme. Leaving early is the safest option for your survival. If you are not prepared to the highest level, leave early in the day. Only consider staying if you are prepared to the highest level – such as your home is specially designed, constructed or modified and situated to withstand a fire, you are well prepared and can actively defend it if a fire starts.
  • Black background with red stripes.   – Catastrophic.  For your survival, leaving early is the only option. Leave bush fire prone areas the night before or early in the day – do not just wait and see what happens.  Make a decision about when you will leave, where you will go, how you will get there and when you will return.  Homes are not designed to withstand fires in catastrophic conditions, so you should leave early.

Your Plans.
The Fire Danger Ratings should be your first trigger for activating your Bush Fire Survival Plan. The safety of you, your family and your home may depend on it.

 During periods of increased fire danger and when there is a bush fire in your area, it’s important that you stay up to date.

 Information can be found in a variety of places and formats. For more details on what information is available visit our Information during bush fires page.

 Fires may threaten without warning so you need to know what you will do to survive.

 The levels are Advice, Watch and Act and Emergency Warning. These alert levels are used as a fire spreads.

 During a fire, you need to follow your Bush Fire Survival Plan. That means you should have already decided if you are going to Leave Early or Stay and Defend your home.

 The safest option for you and your family during a bush fire is to leave early. Sometimes, things don’t go to plan. That’s why you need a back up plan.

 Neighbourhood Safer Places have been introduced for this reason. You should check if there is a Neighbourhood Safer Place near you and note it in your Bush Fire Survival Plan.

 During a bush fire, it’s important you have ready access to items which may save your life. Find out what you should put in your Emergency Survival Kit.

 The heat from a bush fire can kill you. That’s why it’s important to wear clothing that will not only protect you from the heat but also from smoke and embers. Know what to wear during a fire to give you the best chance of survival.

 During periods of increased fire danger and once a fire starts, you need to stay up to date. Know where you will get information during a fire.


Are you Prepared to Survive?

 Being prepared this bush fire season is an important part of protecting your family and home from the impacts of bush fires. A key to being prepared is to understand the level of bush fire risk you and your property are exposed to and the ways you can reduce this risk.

 The NSW Rural Fire Service has developed the following stepped process that ensures your Bush Fire Survival Plan is appropriate for your circumstances. See their website:


Make sure you have your:           

  • Bush Fire Survival Plan 
  • Your Property Checklist Plan 
  • Recovery After a Fire Plan.

  - All in place before the fire season.



  • It is your responsibility to prepare yourself, your family and your home for the threat of bush fire.
  • You need to act decisively in accordance with your Bush Fire Survival Plan when bush fires threaten.
  • Your survival depends on your preparations and the decisions you make.



Prepare a Bush Fire Survival Plan and discuss it with your family. One of the most important decisions you need to make to protect you and your family is will you “Leave Early” or “Stay and Defend” a well prepared property. Regardless of your decision preparation is the key to survival.


If you are going to leave – prepare for where you are going to go, how you are going to get there and what you are going to take.

If you are going to stay, you must have a plan for how you are going to survive and where you will shelter.

Know what equipment you need.

Have a contingency plan – know where your nearest Neighbourhood Safer Place is.

You need to be both mentally and physically prepared to carry out your survival plan.

Prepare your home and property to survive a fire front and ensure you have adequate levels of insurance.


  • Fires can threaten suddenly and without warning so you must be prepared to act without waiting for a warning.
  • Don’t “wait and see”. Put your preparations into action
  • Know what the Fire Danger Rating is for your area
  • Watch for signs of fire, especially smoke and flames
  • If you receive a Bush Fire Alert, take it seriously and act promptly
  • Seek out information from TV, local radio, the internet, mobile phones and neighbours
  • Only consider staying and defending if you and your property are currently well prepared.



  • Your life and your family’s lives are always your first priority during bush fires. The safest option is always to be away from a fire, but recognise that fires can move so quickly that a warning is not always possible.
  • Know the location of your nearest Neighbourhood Safer Place or other safer location that may provide you with greater protection.
  • In Sussex Inlet area this is the RSL Club and the Sussex Inlet Bowling Club and hopefully in the near future Cudmirrah Berrara Community Hall. (May be just a registration centre).
  • Being involved in a fire will be one of the most traumatic experiences of your life
  • On days of Catastrophic fire danger rating leaving early is the safest option to ensure you and your families’ survival as even well prepared and constructed homes will not be safe.
  • On days of Extreme fire danger rating leaving early will always be the safest option.



If you plan to stay and defend:

  • Wear cotton protective long sleeve shirt, pants, gloves, hat and scarf or mask, strong shoes and goggles.
  • Ladders, Spades, mop and buckets, hoses that will reach all areas of you property, petrol/diesel pump and donsider a minimum of 5000 litre water tank.
  • Check property constantly before and after the fire has passed.
  • Embers cause a lot of fires.
  • See our Bush Fire Check List below.


Emergency Survival Kit.

 These should be kept in a cupboard in a bag ready to be taken with you when you have to leave.

   Portable battery operated radio.


  Spare batteries for devices

First aid kit with manual

Candles with waterproof matches

Woollen blankets

Emergency contact numbers

  Waterproof bag for valuables.

Before Leaving you should add:

Medications, toiletries and sanitary supplies

Cash ATM cards, credit cards

Special requirements for infants elderly, injured, disabled

Mobile phone and charger

Combination pocket knife

Important documents valuables and photos in waterproof bag or on a USB stick

Change of clothes for everyone

Drinking water at least three litres per person per day.



 Information courtesy of the RFS website.



Bush Fire Checklist


fire gif

Is your property prepared against bush fires and grass fires?

  • Clear ground fuels around the house (long, dry grass, dead leaves and       branches, thick undergrowth).
  • Reduce Fire Fuels - Take a trip to the tip.
  • Plant a combination of fire resistant plants on your property.
  • Clear gutters.
  • Ember-proof house and sheds.
  • Join the Static Water Supply (SWS) program.
  • Ensure roofing is firmly fixed.
  • Prepare firebreaks (a well watered lawn can act as a firebreak). Keep pasture  growth down.
  • Install screens or shutters and enclose underfloor areas if possible.
  • arnivalScreen vents into the roof space with fine wire mesh.
  • Remove flammable items from around the house (eg. door mats, woodpile, and obvious flammable materials such as paper, boxes, crates, hanging baskets, wooden garden furniture etc).
  • Vent LPG gas tanks away from the house.
Prepare your house for a bush fire by organising sufficient Water Supplies and Fire Fighting Equipment.

 Things to consider include:

  • Check water, taps and hoses. Ensure that hoses with metal fittings are long enough to reach all sides of house when attached to taps.
  • Heavy duty hoses with wide-spray nozzles, if possible.
  • Reserve water supplies from tank, dam, or swimming pool, if possible, since mains water will be in high demand. Try to store water during winter months.
  •  Gate valve fitted to water tank (a 38mm Storz coupling will assist the Rural Fire Brigade).
  • Have gate valve to fit portable pump as well.
  • Regularly check petrol or diesel portable pump, if you have one, to ensure it starts easily.
  • Install a sprinkler system in your garden and on roofing, if affordable.
  • Gather buckets (preferably metal), mops, spray backpack units, ladders, rakes and shovels in one place for ready access during a fire.
  • Battery operated radio and torches in case of electricity failure.


 Listen to the radio for news of the fire's progress, rather than calling emergency services for information.

  • Organise and pre-pack.
  • Dress in protective clothing, drink water frequently.
  • Wet-down roof, house and garden, especially on the side of the approaching fire. Turn on sprinkler system, if you have one.
  • Stop downpipes and fill gutters with water.
  • Fill baths, sinks and buckets with water for extinguishing small fires and for drinking water.
  • Bring in hoses so they don't get burnt.
  • As the fire approaches, go inside and remain inside until the fire has passed.
  • Place wet towels and blankets against gaps under doors and windows.
  • Close heavy curtains, and shutters, if you have them.
  • After the fire has passed and for several hours after the fire front has passed, patrol your property and put out spot fires started by flying embers.
  • Check roof cavity frequently for spot fires.
  • For more information contact your local Fire Control Centre, your local Fire Brigade, or phone the NSW RFS Information Line (1 800 654 443).
  • Compile emergency phone list and leave near phone.


Plan for your personal protection before a fire. Decide who's the boss and who goes, who stays.

Plan for the safety of all family members: special plans should be made for young children, elderly persons, disabled persons and those unable to handle the trauma of bush fire.

If you plan to evacuate (re-locate)
If you intend to evacuate (re-locate) any members of the family, plan well ahead of time where to stay, how to make the decision to leave, and how to travel (remember, leave well before the fire front arrives). 

If you intend to stay

For those who remain, ensure each person has suitable clothing, including sturdy leather footwear, long pants and a long sleeved shirt or jumper (pure wool or cotton offers the best protection from sparks and embers), a broad brimmed hat, goggles for eye protection, handkerchiefs to tie over nose and mouth, wet towels to drape over neck, and bottles for drinking water.


NSW Rural Fire Service. For all information re fires and for all brochures, bush fire plans etc.

NSW Rural Fire Service Homepage

NSW Rural Fire Service Association.  The voice of NSW Rural Fire Fighters.  

Sydney Radar which also covers our South Coast area.

Canberra Radar which also covers our South Coast area.

Hotspots a national bushfire monitoring system of the Aust. Govt. Geoscience Australia.

Asbestos and Mesotheliomas symtons information link
Unfortunately a lot of asbestos exposure can lead to this deadly disease which has no cure.This site has been set up to help raise awareness of this deadly fibre. Fire fighters can become exposed attending burning structures.
 Also look at the Pleural  Mesothelioma page at :  

This Site is maintained by the Cudmirrah Berrara Swanhaven Progress Association.

The Webmaster is brigade member Heather Dunnett .
 Any suggestions and feedback on this site, please email the webmaster: click here