Joint training for joint response

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Located in the Macedon ranges, Hesket-Kerrie and Newham brigades know that planning and training together is important because emergencies don't respect brigade boundaries.


Looking after an area with a mixture of farms and bush properties, with parts of the Cobaw State Forest to the north, Macedon State Forest to the south and Hanging Rock in between, these two small brigades respond together to incidents in each other’s communities, surrounding brigades’ areas, as well as joining forces to form strike teams and composite crews for fire and other emergencies.

The brigades know that getting to know each other’s skills and resources ensures a collaborative effort that enhances capabilities and response to incidents.

Hesket-Kerrie and Newham work together in several ways including fundraising, supporting events at Hanging Rock, and community days at each other’s stations. They realise a connected community is a more resilient one.

The two brigades have also shared resources including crews and vehicles. For example, when Hesket-Kerrie’s tanker 2 was out of commission during the 2022-23 fire season, Newham lent its tanker 1 to Hesket Kerrie’s Cherokee satellite station. Joint knowledge meant brigade members understood the significance of having a truck in this extreme risk area, and that Hesket-Kerrie would support response into Newham from the Hesket station.

Hesket-Kerrie is now fundraising for a new medium tanker.

“It’s not about empire building, it’s about community risk and knowing how best to cover each other’s backs,” Newham Fire Brigade Captain Bryan Hornbuckle said.

Each brigade brings unique experiences and lessons learned. Sharing these experiences through joint training sessions helps identify best practice, areas for improvement, and fosters camaraderie. Training has included mobile props, scenario drills, burns-offs and members sharing knowledge such as air support expertise.

The brigades’ two training officers recently organised a joint training day at VEMTC Central Highlands. Hesket-Kerrie and Newham were the first brigades from District 2 to use this new training ground. Members ran through a motor vehicle accident and structure and smoke house props and drills, which provided an excellent insight into what members can expect.


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Submitted by Hesket-Kerrie Fire Brigade Firefighter J Kelly