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Volunteer training hots up in north-east
Emergency services volunteers from around Victoria’s north-east have better access to vital practical training thanks to an $825,000 upgrade of the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) – Wangaratta Campus.
The upgrade to the facility is the first in a $7.75 million Victorian Government Fixed Training Infrastructure Program, to give emergency services volunteers better access to training and education services.
CFA Executive Director of Operational Training and Volunteerism, Lex de Man AFSM, said it was the culmination of five years planning to improve training across Victoria. The Wangaratta training campus has been operating for 30 years.
“Local facilities, such as the VEMTC – Wangaratta Campus are vital to ensuring emergency service volunteers have the skills and experience needed to protect their communities,” Mr de Man said.
“The opportunity to prepare for incidents with practical, scenario based training including experiencing live fire in a safe, controlled and realistic environment is essential.”
The upgrade includes a larger training and meeting room, first aid room and breathing apparatus storage facility – in addition to the existing “hot fire” practical training area.
The new building will be named after retired local training manager Brian Lawrence, whose passion for training has been unwavering over the past 15 years.
Mr de Man said upgrades of other VEM Training Centres at Huntly, Longerenong, Penshurst, West Sale and a new facility at Mildura in 2015, would also ensure the majority of Victoria’s emergency service volunteers would not have to travel hours to access training.
The improvements are also consistent with recommendations of the 2011 Jones Inquiry into CFA’s arrangements with its volunteers, which urged better access for volunteer training.
Mr de Man said in addition to the $25 million in improvements to the Fiskville training campus, and the new Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre at Craigieburn, Victoria’s emergency service personnel now have 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 now have access to the best training facilities available,” he said.
More than 37,000 CFA volunteer operational firefighters and around 700 CFA career firefighters protect 60 per cent of Melbourne and all of regional and rural Victoria.