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Volunteer Training hots up at Huntly
Emergency services volunteers from across Central Victoria will now have better access to vital practical training thanks to an $835,242 upgrade of Huntly Training campus.
The Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre - Huntly Campus was officially opened last night near Bendigo.
The upgrade to the facility is the third in a $7.75 million Victorian Government Fixed Training Infrastructure Program, which aims to give emergency services volunteers better access to training and education services. The Huntly training campus has been operating for 18 years.
CFA Executive Director of Operational Training and Volunteerism, Lex de Man AFSM, said that the upgrade was part of a broader plan to improve training state-wide that had been five years’ in the making.
“The type of training offered at campuses like Huntly gives our volunteers the skills and practical experience that is essential for their role in protecting the community,” he said.
“All of the VEMTC campuses are purpose-designed to allow volunteers to take part in training scenarios that are as close as possible to reality.
“Facilities provide for both ‘live fire’ simulations and other scenarios that reflect the variety – and complexity – of incidents that emergency services volunteers face.”
The upgrade includes new well-equipped breathing apparatus facilities, a training room, first aid room and dirty mess area, with upgrades to existing change rooms and amenities.
Mr de Man said that improvements to VEMTC facilities around Victoria, including those at Longerenong, Penhurst, Wangaratta, West Sale and Mildura (where a new centre will be built in 2015), would cut down on the time emergency services volunteers spent travelling to access specialist training.
The improvements are also consistent with recommendations from the 2011 Jones Inquiry, which urged that training be made more accessible for volunteers.
Mr de Man said that with $25 million in improvements to the Fiskville training campus, and the new EMVTC at Craigieburn, Victoria’s emergency service personnel now had access to some of the best practical training facilities anywhere in the country.
“The network of training facilities means no matter what the hazard or the agency, all those who put their hand up to protect lives and property have access to the best training facilities available,” he said.
Local CFA volunteer Tony Jackon, 1st lieutenant and 16-year member of the Huntly FIre Brigade, said that the new Norm Bowen breathing apparatus support building was a magnificent asset for brigades.
“This is a great facility for volunteers to come and maintain their skills and particularly add to their Breathing Apparatus skills, which is something we have to do yearly,” he said. "The new classroom is obviously going to be an asset as well.
More than 37,000 CFA volunteer operational firefighters and around 700 CFA career firefighters protect 65 per cent of Melbourne and all of regional and rural Victoria.
Read more here about how Norm Bowen was instrumental in establishing the training ground and his continuing passion for the ground and for volunteer training.