Allambee Firefighter Susan Spanitz gained her truck licence through the Enhancing Volunteerism Grant Program in District 9. An extra driver has considerably improved outcomes at Allambee Fire Brigade.
CFA will have more than 100 new licensed fire truck drivers throughout District 9 following the completion of training through the Enhancing Volunteerism Grant Program (EVGP).
The district administered and paid for 105 medium rigid truck licences, and four heavy licences, with almost all 44 brigades across the district participating and benefiting from the $115,000 grant.
The grant was submitted to assist District 9 brigades improve the time it takes to get from station to incident, and to increase depth and resilience throughout the district with an increased availability of truck drivers.
It was designed to assist members who had little or no truck driving experience to gain their licence and free up a limited pool of driver trainers.
Allambee Fire Brigade member Susan Spanitz was one of the drivers who completed the course through EVGP. She said she was keen to improve her skills after joining CFA to get involved in the community.
“I sat down with Captain John Bilney and I was really encouraged from that first meeting to do my General Firefighter training and then get a truck licence,” Susan said.
“We’re a small brigade with not many qualified truck drivers so it was important to increase that capability at our brigade.
“I think when John learnt that I was working from home (even pre-COVID) he was very keen to have another driver.”
Susan is now a qualified truck driver, meaning she can assist with regular Sunday runs to keep the engine turning over, refilling runs, or even just moving the truck out of the station in preparation for an incident, training or meetings.
She is also nominated to train to become an emergency response driver with lights and sirens.
District 9 Assistant Chief Fire Officer Trevor Roberts said this grant initiative provided a significant increase to capability across the District.
“In the three years before the grant application, District 9 had an average of 10 volunteers completing the truck licencing program per year,” he said.
“This is a significant boost in truck drivers for our brigades and I wish to thank our members for embracing this opportunity.
“I also wish to convey my special thanks to Coordinator Learning and Development Sarah Hollingsworth and now Acting CLD Jade Turner who have administered the project on top of their regular and high workload.”
- Allambee Firefighter Susan Spanitz has since been nominated to train to be an emergency response driver.