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Schoolkids storm Seymour
Throughout the course of this year a group of Year 9 students have participated in the annual Advance program involving CFA training.
So far we have learned skills such as leadership, team-building, communication and basic firefighting skills such as rolling and bowling hoses, pump operations, the formations of a two line gas attack and different firefighting methods. We have also learnt about different causes of fires such as fuel loads and how weather and topography affect the intensity and rate of spread of the fire. Radio and mapping skills have been tricky but we have had many practical sessions on getting it right and driving to specific places with our crew and drivers in the trucks.
We have covered a wide range of things in our theory sessions other than what we are able to do in our practical such as safety around aircraft, hazards such as chemical leaks, safety around retardants and battling live fires.
Our Wednesdays normally go in this order….
We arrive at school in the morning and get changed into our CFA uniform which consists of overalls, bushfirehelmet, gloves, boots and goggles. We then make our way out to the front of school where the volunteers and fire trucks for the surrounding districts such as Rushworth, Colbinabbin, Murchison and Baillieston are waiting for us, once we arrive at the station we sit down in the meeting room and go through about an hour of theory work.
We then have a five minute break before going out into different locations and putting our theory knowledge into practical work. Sometimes it will be different to what we’ve learnt in theory but it will regularly coincide with what we’ve learnt in the past week or so. This goes on from anywhere from one to two hours and then we head back to the station and share with the group what we’ve learnt for the day.
Coming up in the next few months our group will be travelling to Wangaratta to put our knowledge in practice by taking place in two-line gas attacks involving a controlled fire, fighting a petrol station fire and car rescue and a smoke house rescue (with sugar smoke).
We also took part in an excursion on 5 August involving Incident Management practice. We learned about the different levels and aspects of chain of command and put this into practice by having a mock bushfire. We learned how the Incident Management works and how they do their job. We were split into the different jobs such as public relations, logistics, planning, and operations and of course we had an Incident controller (THE BOSS!). It was hard at first but we soon learned that you need to be thorough and not muck around and get the job done as quickly as possible.
We cannot emphasise how thankful we are for the CFA volunteers that take time from their Wednesdays to teach us these skills. Again we are very thankful and privileged that we are able to take place in this amazing program.