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Grand Prix lap of honour
As a special tribute to the many people who have served communities over the 2013-14 fire season, more than 100 emergency services members took part in a circuit lap and a guard of honour at last Sunday’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
CFA, DEPI, MFB and SES personnel, dressed in distinctive turn out gear, received an enthusiastic reception from the crowd – many of whom stood as a mark of respect.
CFA’s Peter Baker, who coordinated the activity on behalf of the Victorian fire services, said that usual roles were reversed as celebrity Formula One drivers took out their mobile phones to photograph the fireys.
“It has been a busy, demanding and extended season,” said Peter.
“This was a great way for the general public to get a sense of the scope of our response to fires right across Victoria this summer,” he said. “I’m sure some of the names on the trucks would have been unfamiliar to people in the crowd.
“Our thanks goes out to all the members who participated and particularly to Craig Ferguson from CFA who was the ‘voice of the fire services’ – his commentary on the brigades and members present was broadcast over the PA and large screens.”
Seventeen fire trucks led out the Formula One drivers in the traditional pre-race slow circuit at 3.30pm, including tankers, pumpers and crews from CFA brigades Heywood, Kilmore, Wallan, Warrandyte, Selby, Wildwood, Bacchus Marsh, Dadswells Bridge, Inglewood, Wughnu and Lara. DEPI was represented by Olinda and Powelltown tankers. SES supported with a heavy rescue truck and MFB attended with a ladder platform and pumper. A large tender from Melbourne Airport also took part in the parade.
A guard of honour at the start/finish line was truly multi-agency, with 19 separate organisations represented, which included Queensland and NSW fire services which have supported their Victorian colleagues this season.
Peter said that the guard was inspected by dignitaries including the Govenor, Premier Denis Napthine, Deputy Premier Peter Ryan and Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells, as well as the CEO of the Australian Grand Prix Corporation Andrew Westacott.