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Carrum Downs breaks incidents record
CFA’s Carrum Downs Fire Brigade volunteers have had a busy few weeks attending a range of incidents, allowing the brigade to break its incident record for 2016, with 470 call-outs.
On 22 December, Carrum Downs sent nine volunteers in two fire trucks to a grass and scrub fire in the Pines Flora and Fauna Reserve to support Forest Fire Management Victoria crews. On 28 December, the brigade attended another grass fire on the roadside of the Peninsula Link in Carrum Downs and days later on 30 December they attended a house fire in their community. Most recently on 6 January, Carrum Downs attended another house fire in Seaford, alongside crews from Dandenong, Bayswater, Frankston and Patterson River.
Carrum Downs Brigade Captain Stephen Rhodes leads a growing brigade of 42 operational and 12 non-operational members.
“Carrum Downs and surrounding areas are growing, which means the brigade is becoming busier, attending call-outs to all sorts of incidents,” Stephen said.
“We help protect infrastructure as part of the largest industrial area in the City of Frankston, along with around 50 large premises including caravan parks, shop fronts, schools and nursing homes, alongside hundreds of homes.
“We’re looking forward to moving into a new fire station in August, which will allow us to host briefing sessions more effectively and house volunteers more comfortably.”
Carrum Downs works closely with neighbouring brigades including Skye, Frankston and Patterson River.
Things have changed over the 24 years Stephen has volunteered with Carrum Downs, including in relation to road accidents.
“We used to attend high-impact car crash fatalities much more often than nowadays, which I put down to significant improvements to roads including installation of crash barriers and better-quality surfaces, as well as improved safety technology in cars,” he said.
“However, we are attending more incidents where children are trapped in cars, which are most likely to be because people are more aware of how dangerous this can be and are reporting incidents more often.”
The brigade also works closely with the community, sharing safety information on its Facebook page and attending a range of local events including the upcoming Australia Day fireworks, Christmas Carols, school visits and hosting Open Days at the fire station.
“We get a lot of great support from our community through fundraisers like selling Christmas trees and through their willingness to take on our advice on safety and fire preparation,” Stephen said.
Stephen also spent 10 years as a volunteer with what was the Chelsea brigade, before it became Patterson River. His ‘day job’ is as a Practical Area for Drills (PAD) Operator at CFA’s Bangholme Training Facility.