The Banksia Group were ahead of the game when they recently gathered for their group training exercise to hone their skills in preparation for the now-kindled fire season.
Around 30 existing operational and support volunteers from six of the seven brigades in the Group came together on Sunday 24 September to run through a series of pumping activities.
Banksia Group Training Officer Reese Goodwin said it was an important session from a skills maintenance point of view coming into the season we are about to have, but also to build strong camaraderie.
“Knowing your surrounding brigade and Group members is really crucial, especially leading into summer as you want to build relationships and forge friendships so you’re able to work together more effectively,” he said.
“It was a great day out and we got lots of positive feedback from the brigade members. It’s always a successful day when you can send your members home with a full belly and a number of key takeaways from the day.
“Coming out of a few benign fire seasons, it was an opportunity for us to revisit certain skills to ensure they are all still second nature.”
The day started off with a navigation drill before jumping into a range of pumping exercises that involved drafting, boosting and simple hose work with tankers, ultra-light’s and quick fill pumps.
“Each brigade received a six-figure reference from myself, and they were tasked with finding their way to the event with those coordinates. It all worked out very well, we had no tankers go missing!
“We then ran a few different fire season scenarios including how to tackle grassfires and structure fires, then finished with a boost relay.
“In the Banksia Group, there are no hydrants, so we re-enacted a structure fire to run the boost relay between fire tankers.”
The Group, located in the south catchment of CFA’s District 10 consists of Golden Beach, Loch Sport, Longford, Seaspray, Stradbroke, Willung and Giffard West.
Covering an area approximately 153,000Ha, the zone entails coastal and lake scrub, plantations, forest, and farmland, meaning the brigade members need to be equipped to tackle all terrain.
With the weather becoming warmer and drier, and with the current fuel loads, the Group will look to hold another exercise in the cooler autumn months.
“We’re going to try and run some structure fire scenarios in winter and through autumn before we hit the peak season of structure fires to best prep our volunteers.”