Coimadai cements its future

Coimadai Fire Brigade members have kept alive a fine tradition by once again building their own fire station.

Their 1968 shed was built by ex-captain George Rogers when he was an apprentice and donated back to him once its replacement was built. By 2013, their 1980 besser block station was a chock-a-block two bay and it was time to start on its replacement.

“Fifteen years of fundraising persistence and saving had finally given us the right combo of design and dollars,” said fourth lieutenant and ex-captain Brad Dawson.  “Every year we doorknock every one of our 300 households to give them fire safety information and we also ask for a donation.”

With the $100,000 design fully funded by the brigade, six-months of construction and landscaping began. It wasn’t quite all hands on deck, however, as only those qualified to be on a building site could work. Builders, plumbers and electricians got busy, member Ray Chapman worked through the complex legal and compliance issues and engineer Brad dug trenches and shovelled concrete.

He claimed that “the rest of the brigade shouted encouragement while they were refreshing themselves” but gladly admitted that every member hit the phones and worked their networks hard.

“Everything was done by members and their families, friends of friends and corporate supporters,” said Brad. “We also cast our net wide and talked to business owners including those out of our own area. We explained that every dollar we spent was donated or raised through sausage sizzles and they saw it was a good cause.

“Our neighbour Boral donated crushed rock and concrete. The only thing we paid full price on was crane hire for the erection of the structure.”

The new four-bay steel shed now houses their two tankers as well as their ultralight and hose lay trailer which is both brigade owned and designed. There’s storage space for turnout gear and room for briefings.

Further brigade funds along with VESEP, federal and local government grants were then invested into the renovation of their 1980 station which now has a meeting room doubling as a community hub with air conditioning, audio-visual equipment and a modern kitchen.

The brigade’s pride in ownership was on show at their official opening with the ribbon cut by brigade life member Mary Flanagan.

It’s not all free and easy now, however. All members must learn the new house rules: turn off the air conditioner and NO BOOTS on the carpet in the meeting room!

Author: Leith Hillard