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Lawrence Building, Wangaratta, officially opened
The Lawrence Building, Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre – Wangaratta was officially opened on 6 September 2014. The event was a celebration of 30 years of CFA service to brigades and the wider local community.
The Lawrence Building is named after former Hume Region Training Manager Brian Lawrence, who has been associated with the centre for 40 years. Brian has made a substantial contribution to the development of the Wangaratta site, which enabled thousands of people to train at the location over the years. In the future, under the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centres Strategy, other emergency service agencies will use the centre for member hot fire training.
The Wangaratta training ground was established by the local brigades who needed a place to complete hot fire training. An application was approved by the local Shire Council in 1979. In 1984, the training ground was developed for basic hot fire drills. Over the years, a fire attack building, water supply and other props were installed.
Too good to throw away
The Bonnie Doon Fire Shed was moved to Wangaratta as the first change rooms. Today, it is the site's machinery shed. The site development was carried out in large part by groups of brigade volunteers.
Steve Phillips has been a Pad Operator at Wangaratta for 30 years. He’s watched thousands of members come through training, including NSW people in the old days.
“With the centre, we can provide realistic hot fire training in a safe environment in the North East,” he said.
The Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre – Wangaratta is part of a $7.5 million upgrade to CFA training facilities, meeting a requirement listed in the 2011 Jones Inquiry into the Effects of Arrangements made by CFA on its Volunteers. The centre’s catchment includes Districts 12, 22, 23 and 24. Some 2,000 people are trained at the location each year.