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Another successful exercise at St Leonards
It was another successful training night on Monday, with a number of Brigades involved in an exercise to test our grassfire tactics, as well as strategies in keeping houses safe when/if they are in the path of a fast moving fire.
The scenario was that a fire had started on the side of the road and was heading through farmlands and towards properties ahead of an expected wind change. The fire ran right through the boundary of St Leonards and Mannerim Brigades response areas, requiring forward planning for establishing incident control. It also included challenges with access and egress for vehicles in both establishing a control point, as well as for fire fighting purposes- all of which needed to be taken into consideration by the incident controller. Weather conditions for the exercise had the FDI up to 81 ahead of the expected change, and then following the change the fire was heading directly towards an interface area of St Leonards, with a large residential area potentially under threat.
Members from the St Leonards, Mannerim, Drysdale and Ocean Grove Fire Brigades participated in the exercise, with fantastic support from Bellarine Deputy Group Officers and Ocean Grove staff. The fire was sectorised – one of tankers/ slip ons to stop the spread of fire before the change, and one of pumpers to look at asset protection strategies after the change.
It was great to see some of our newer members step up into new and exciting roles for the night, and to see our more experienced members acting as mentors. We also appreciate the enthusiasm from our supporting Brigades, who treated the exercise with the realism that we were looking for, and it was great to draw on the experience of the career staff at Ocean Grove. We hope everyone had some fun along the way too!
At the close of the exercise, all members returned to the St Leonards station for a debrief and BBQ. Captain Niki Habibis thanked all members for their attendance and enthusiasm.
A special thanks to John Fyfe and the landholders down Burrows Road for allowing Brigades access to properties for the exercise. And a big thanks to Barry and Jeanette Roberts who cooked up a storm for the hungry members at the end of the night!