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New French Island station opens
CFA has officially opened a new station for one of its most isolated brigades.
French Island is just 60 kilometres South-East of Melbourne but with no mains power, no mains water, no police, no ambulance and no bridge to the mainland its residents can’t rely on outside assistance in an emergency.
In fact, the local CFA brigade is the only permanent emergency service on the island, with firefighters sometimes called upon to provide First Aid until the Air Ambulance arrives.
French Island Captain Glenn Seymour said “It takes a minimum of one and a half hours to get on ground assistance and that is if the tides and weather are right.”
The new station will help French Island brigade’s 39 members respond to emergencies far into the future. It features a toilet, washroom, kitchenette, improved storage and two truck bays.
In the absence of mains electricity the station is powered by a large array of solar panels on the roof.
Mr Seymour said “The solar panels provide enough power for an incident control centre if and when we have a large emergency on the island.”
Construction was complicated by the need to ferry all the building material to the island.
Already equipped with a tanker, the brigade officially received a slip-on at the ceremony as well. It previously belonged to the nearby Dalyston brigade.
While koalas are a familiar sight in the trees surrounding the station, members are more interested in keeping out another form of local wildlife – the snakes that sometimes took up residence in the old station.
Photos courtesy of Scott Hamilton