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One weekend in November
November has been a very busy month for brigades not only with the start of the fire season but also with organising CFA Open Days to make sure the community is educated and well prepared.
Brigades opened their stations, joined forces with other agencies or attended local events to connect with the locals.
Ferntree Gully Fire Brigade decided to have its open day on Saturday 28 November during the Ferntree Gully Discovery Day, a day when local community groups are put on show. It was a beautiful day with lots of people everywhere. Both senior and junior brigade members did fire demonstrations to teach spectators, and especially children, what to do in case of a fire at home.
Two teams of two firefighters showed how long and how much manpower it actually takes to put out a gas fire. It almost went wrong when one of the juniors lost control of the hose for a second and the crowd almost got soaked. Luckily, they used the skills they had learned and got everything immediately under control.
Around the corner in Upper Ferntree Gully, the brigade organised a family fun day. There was something for everyone with live music, a jumping castle, pony rides, a sausage sizzle, face painting, a smoke house, some SES crews and the latest CFA truck on show. The morning was a little quiet but the sun made sure locals came out later in the day. Although lots of fun was had, there was also a time to learn.
Our members talked about summer dangers, pet and horse fire safety and of course, home fires. Children were taught to ‘stop, drop and roll’ in the smoke house, with a few of them saying although scary at first it was easy to do. In the end everyone went home having learned some valuable lessons in preparation for the fire season.
Upwey Fire Brigade, at the foothills of the Dandenong Ranges, had its open day on Sunday 29 November. The community came out in force for the free barbecue and to tour the fire station. Many residents asked questions about how to best prepare their homes and families for the coming fire season.
Upwey kids (and grown-ups) had the time of their lives with Captain Koala by becoming an Honorary Upwey Firefighter. These ‘trainee’ firefighters had to demonstrate ‘stop, drop and roll’, ‘get down low and go, go, go’, squirt a fire hose and complete a quiz about fire safety to be awarded a certificate stating they were now an Honorary member of the brigade. The Upwey community and broader hills community had a great day at Upwey Fire Station and everyone is looking forward to doing it all again next year.
To find out if and when your local brigade is having their open day and what fun activities they have in store for the community, visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/cfa-open-day
Photos by Keith Pakenham, Ryan Vanderhorst, Blair Dellemijn, Saskia Van Bever