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New Blackwood fire station
Emergency Services Minister Kim Wells has turned the first sod at the site of the new Blackwood fire station, which will double as Victoria's first colocated community fire refuge.
The new fire station, in one of Victoria's high bushfire risk locations, will be specifically designed and constructed as community shelter of last resort.
The $1.5m project is part of the Victorian Governemnt's Community Fire Refuge Pilot Program and will be constructed in line with building guidlines and operational procedures introduced since the 2009 fires.
The new building will also update the current tin shed station which has served the community since 1987.
The new station will incorporate a three-bay motor room, improved facilities and conditions for brigade members, and better security for fire vehicles. It will also be used as an area for training and brigade administration.
Construction is expected to be completed by December.
Mr Wells said he hoped the station would never be required as a fire refuge, but Blackwood's location made it the logical site for the first co-located building.
"The process to design, test and build Community Fire Refuges to stringent standards has never been undertaken in Australia and has proven to be incredibly complex," Mr Wells said.
"Ideally, we'd never need to use a Community Fire Refuge because leaving early remains the safest option in a high-risk bushfire area.