Fundraising for vital equipment

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The Victorian Government’s Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) gives brigades $2 (up to a maximum of $150,000) for every $1 of funding raised by a brigade or group to help buy a wide range of items.


Jung Fire Brigade Captain Chris Pallot has worked hard over the years to secure VESEP-funded equipment – the brigade received a Nissan Patrol ultralight in 2015, a tyre inflation system for its medium tanker in 2020, and a side-by-side vehicle (SSV) in 2024.

“We’re very fortunate when it comes to raising money,” Chris said. “There are a couple of large companies in our response area which we protect. I emailed them explaining what equipment we needed, and these two emails raised $5,000 for the brigade.

“We also sold a lot of chocolates, collected old car and truck batteries for recycling, and have raffled a trailer load of firewood at a local market. We’ve done all sorts of things to raise money.”

During the 2014 Grampians fire, the Jung tanker was on strike team duty and Jung brigade members wanted to find a way the brigade could respond in its local area. The brigade applied for a VESEP grant to buy an ultralight which they thought would be perfect for the brigade’s response area.

“We contributed about $22,000 towards the ultralight in 2015, and it has been an invaluable asset,” Chris said. “We have a lot of swampy country with trees close together, and we can be in tight spaces to fight a running fire.

“We try to send the ultralight out of the door first and aim to knock down a fire quickly or protect property quickly. It’s easier to manoeuvre than a tanker and is perfect for rapid response.

“It’s a very useful vehicle. It’s part of a strike team, it can tow a quick fill and other equipment, and it will tow our new side-byside vehicle on a trailer. The ultralight paid for itself very quickly.”

There’s a lot of sand in District 17 with the Little Desert and Big Desert, and Jung brigade borders both. To help with response in this environment, the district has dedicated sand tankers. Jung brigade doesn’t have a sand tanker, but thanks to a VESEP grant it has the next best thing – a tyre inflation system (pictured below) that was retrofitted at the Horsham DMO workshop in early 2020.

“When we’re going into sand we can deflate the tyres with the push of a button,” Chris said. “This gives us a bigger footprint and increases traction, which is safer for the firefighters. We’ve also used this inflation system to pull out bogged trucks while working in sandy conditions.”

As well as fighting fires, Jung brigade has a keen focus on vegetation management which benefits the town and surrounding communities.

One of the controlled burns it conducts is a 17-kilometre stretch of grass along a rail corridor that runs through town. The brigade, along with the vegetation management officer and rail operator, work cooperatively to ensure this vital vegetation management takes place to protect the Jung township.

“We walk the 17 kilometres with a drip torch. On average it takes three days and needs a different crew for each day. Undertaking this task wears people out.”

In the future, the new VESEP-funded SSV will be used to speed up this task and improve the welfare of brigade members. It could also be used to help with rescues in the Grampians or at Mount Arapiles.

“It’s better to have modern equipment that can get the job done more quickly and safely.”

Chris is a huge advocate for applying for VESEP grants and VESEP also benefited him directly in his job.

“I had a VESEP-funded job for four years as a DMO in the Horsham workshop, so overall VESEP has been a really important part of my life.”


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