Moruya Rural Fire Service has 40 new recruits.
A brigade of Gentle Bears has arrived to support and care for children who experience traumatic incidents.
The bears are the brainchild of Gallagher Bassett and the South Australian Police Department, who wanted to do more to help the children they were coming into contact with when responding to 000 calls.
"Gentle Bear acts as an emotional aid for children in emergency situations like house fires or serious road traffic accidents," Gallagher Bassett CEO John McNamara said.
"These bears distract a child's attention from the immediate, distressing situation by providing a reassuring and safe object to latch on to."
Gallagher Bassett has partnered with Insurance and Care NSW (icare) to bring Gentle Bear to NSW, donating 5000 Gentle Bears to the NSW RFS in 2019.
In NSW, icare provides workers compensation insurance to government agencies, including the RFS.
"Volunteer firefighters do an amazing job taking care of the community in times of crisis, however, the trauma associated with these situations can negatively impact the mental health of volunteers," icare's General Manager of Agency Engagement, Britt Coombe, said.
"As the workers compensation insurer for NSW, we know that psychological injuries are amongst the most costly and most life changing."
She said giving support to others can reduce physiological stress responses during times of trauma, with the act of giving itself contributing to beneficial health outcomes.
"Gentle Bear represented an opportunity for us to support the mental health and wellbeing of NSW's volunteer firefighters. We hope Gentle Bear will not only benefit the children who are affected by emergency situations, but that it will also look out for the wellbeing of our volunteer fire fighters who are able to be 'doing something' in a situation that can otherwise make them feel powerless," Ms Coombe said.