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A little help from my friends
Strike Team 1403
I'm not sure how it came about perhaps it was the phone call from Group
They were looking for a Strike Team Leader for a night shift obviously my first mistake was answering the phone. The second mistake was saying I could do it if they couldn't get anybody else.
In any case I found my self preparing for a night shift just packing the essentials items such as rewards for the crews ( I like to use Jelly beans )
It was a late suggestion but a good one that I take my Old School Black Turn Out Jacket to keep warm.
I found it and jumped into my car to meet the bus at the Mernda Fire Station.
On the way I discovered my third mistake I hadn't put my Wildfire Gear in.
Back to Doreen grabbed my gear somewhat sheepishly in front of the Captain not a great start.
Fourth mistake I'd missed the bus.
The Mernda Captain drove me to Whittlesea to catch up with the rest of the crew not the best introduction to the Strike Team Leader but things started to get better from there.
It turned out during the briefing at the Staging Area that 1403 was tasked with protecting Kilmore my luck had changed I had been the STL driver on Sunday night in that zone. I had some recent local knowledge of the area we had been tasked to look after.
We were linked up with another Strike Team to give us a total of 13 vehicles
(2 FCV's 10 Tankers & a Big Fill)
At the briefing we were asked to do some welfare checks I requested if I could do one of my own.
My little sister Robyn lives in Kilmore with her son and daughter they had lost their home in the Black Saturday Fires
As her big brother in the CFA I had been giving her advice on what to do from a distance.
She had been on edge since the fires started on Sunday thankfully some friends had come over to make sure she was ok.
I consulted my fellow STL we needed a safe area to form up in Kilmore again my luck held my sister lives on a long straight road ideal for the purpose very close to the Fire Ground.
I rang my sister around 2100 hours to advise her to expect us and that we might need a coffee or two.
To see the smiles and hear the laughter of my sister and her family as the convoy of Fire Trucks beacons flashing pulled up outside their home was some thing I will never forget.
The welcome she gave the Strike Teams was fantastic.
Anyone who wanted a coffee got one, even the good china came out to ensure that no one missed out.
The Girls in the Strike Team were invited inside to freshen up before a long night out on the Fire Ground.
We did not stay long and I really did not get to see my sister as I was planing what we would be doing with the other STL but the crews made them all feel safe.
Robyn told me the next day as we again formed up to return to staging that it was the first night that she had gotten a good nights sleep since the fires started.
So I need to thank every member of the respective Strike Teams who were with me that night not only did you do a outstanding job on the fire ground but you made my sister and her family feel safe and for that I'm eternally grateful.
Things happen for a reason way beyond my comprehension at times this was one of those.
Last Updated: 10 December 2015