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Station sod turn marks new era for Warrandyte Sth
With the moving of a frontend loader’s bucketful of dirt, a new chapter in the 58-year history of the South Warrandyte Fire Brigade was written.
Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett joined volunteers and staff from the area to witness the first step in transforming a muddy field on Falconer Road into a $6.5m state-of-the-art fire station.
“So this is going to be an outstanding integrated facility for a community which needs and deserves a 24 hour presence. It will provide capacity for up to 6 firefighters at all times, feature a three bay drive through motor-room, training areas, a gym, protective equipment servicing areas and meeting room and admin services,” Ms Garrett said.
Captain Greg Kennedy said the volunteer brigade recognised some time ago that the growing community needed assistance protecting the community.
“We took the concept (of integration) to the brigade members and we put it to them that our real task was to make sure we provide a service to the community, and if we can do it better than we are now, we should go that way,” he said.
“Clearly having staff means the response time reduces and clearly that’s got to be a better service being delivered to our customers, the community.”
With among the best views of any CFA fire station, the new site looks northeast over rolling pastures and bushland.
But according to the man who will be Officer In Charge of the Brigade, Operations Officer Jamie Hansen, it’s the areas growing urban population which is putting pressure on services.
He expects to see the number of call outs rise once the new station is opened in mid 2016.
“The South Warrandyte Brigade will be supporting and currently supports the Warrandyte area, Wonga Park, Croydon Hills and a few of the MFB areas like Templestowe, Ringwood and Croydon,” Mr Hansen said.
“So that area, with enhanced response times with career staff, will expand dramatically and it will be quite a busy fire station.”
OO Hansen said while staff would maintain a high level of service delivery to the area, volunteers would remain at the core of the brigade which was established in 1947.
He said a lot of work maintain skills and qualifications, particularly in urban firefighting, had already been invested in the brigade.