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Ocean Grove staffed 24/7
Ocean Grove Fire Brigade has transitioned from a day staffing to a 24-hour staffing model, with 12 additional career firefighters coming on board to boost support to volunteer firefighters.
The additional career staff will bring to 15 the total number of career firefighters at Ocean Grove. They will work in teams or platoons of 3 on a rotating shift arrangement 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Ocean Grove Fire Brigade Officer-In-Charge Ian Beswicke said that the change would have advantages for the entire Bellarine Group of fire brigades and communities.
“Bringing in more staff means a bit of extra support for volunteers in the form of the skills these guys are bringing in with them and also the specialist gear that travels on the Ocean Grove Pumper. That includes equipment such as full body hazmat suits, gas monitors, and forcible entry equipment.”
Under an integrated ‘hub and spokes’ model, career firefighters are based at Ocean Grove but support all 9 brigades in the area by responding to incidents across the Bellarine Peninsula, taking the pressure off volunteers especially in rapid-growth population areas.
Ian said that support for volunteers would also be provided in the form of additional or specialist training sessions and even individual mentoring.
“The career firefighters at Ocean Grove already do a lot of work running specialist or extended training for our volunteer members and the scope for this will increase,” he said.
“We’ll see the staff travelling out to other fire stations to conduct training or to host brigades that choose to come in to Ocean Grove.”
While most of the new staff joining Ocean Grove already live in Geelong or locally, two are making the move to Ocean Grove from Bendigo and Dandenong. A family day to welcome the new firefighters and their families is being planned for later in the year.