News & Media

CFA thanks Fire and Rescue NSW

  • Mt Druitt as Dande Pumper 2 at truck rollover on Eastlink

By: Leith Hillard

Category: Operational Information

  4.01 PM 14 March, 2014

Location: General

Views: 4800

As the complex response to the Hazelwood mine fire rolls on, members from Fire and Rescue New South Wales continue to backfill integrated Victorian fire stations.

Senior station officers report that local crews are getting along like a house on fire with their welcome visitors from the north.

Frankston Fire Station welcomed rotating crews of four and one truck from MFB before NSW stepped up on February 20th. Since then a Bondi pumper has been taking in the sea air of Frankston with a rotating crew of three comprising the NSW equivalent of a station officer, leading firefighter and firefighter.

Senior Station Officer Doug Broom has been knee-deep in the complex rostering required by the Hazelwood response.

“The day-to-day running of the brigade has been a big disjointed,” he says, “but the NSW crews have gone out of their way to be approachable and amenable. They’ve improvised and adapted their procedures to fit our procedures.”

He’s also happy to report that the Victorians are doing very well against NSW on the trivia front.

Shepparton Senior Station Officer Pete Dedman also confirms that Victorian crews have the far superior trivia minds. Unfortunately, however, they have been forced to endure jibes about 'aerial ping-pong' from northern rugby supporters.

“We’ve had Rydalmere Pumper 65 at the station,” says Pete, “while Shepp aerial pumper had been stationed at Hazelwood. 

“NSW members had to put their names in a ballot to be selected to come down to Victoria so they’re obviously really keen to get here. We’ve had a mix of very experienced officers through to people who’ve been in the job for just six months and some from inner city areas such as The Rocks. They have different systems and structures so it’s been a learning curve for us and them.

“All crews have been extremely accommodating and we’ve achieved what we’ve needed to at fires and rescues. They’re also hopping in to perform duties around the station without hesitation.

“They don’t do emergency medical response at Fire and Rescue NSW and they’ve had the chance to see that in action. I think they were very impressed with the way it went off.

“One interesting incident was a callout to a house explosion and we arrived to find other nearby houses had also lost tiles. One of the senior station officers from NSW said he’d been called out once to a whirly-wind and that’s exactly what this one turned out to be. It was a good lead and we called him The Oracle after that.”

It’s also good news from Bendigo Fire Station where Senior Station Officer Mick Lavery has welcomed a Scania from Randwick and the “great blokes who do whatever you ask of them. They blend in really well.

“We’ve got some blokes at the moment who work at the Sydney headquarters station where they have 24 on shift at any one time. They were at the Barangaroo fire earlier this week so there’s been a lot of variety for them. They’ve all loved it here.”

Meanwhile Bendigo fireys have been busy crewing the snozzles at Mildura and Shepparton and the teleboom in Ballarat.

NSW has been supporting Corio Fire Station since February 20th while the Corio teleboom has been at Hazelwood with a crew of two rotating through every two hours.

“The NSW crews have been fantastic,” says Senior Station Officer Brad McRobb. “They’re good fun to work with and their attitude, willingness to help and work ethic have been excellent. They’ve been happy to come down and we’ve been happy to have them – it’s been the right mix of people and skills.

“It’s a completely different culture in Fire and Rescue NSW – they have about 3500 fulltime firefighters. This has been a chance to learn from each other quite separate to all the lessons learned at Hazelwood.”

Dandenong Fire Station has appreciated the work on station of MFB followed by NSW crews along with the Mt Druitt pumper.

“They wear different shirts but we all do the same job,” says Senior Station Officer Paul Caligari. “They have different turnout systems and radio procedures but they’re working in just so well with us.

“We’ve had some people from NSW who went home and put their names back in the ballot to come down a second time. It’s always a good thing to work away from home and see a different patch and these guys seem to have really enjoyed it.”

Dandenong crews, in turn, remain committed to Hazelwood, looking after hazardous atmospheric monitoring in the mine and in the townships of Morwell, Churchill and Traralgon.

Last Updated: 14 March 2014