Chris Brayne MP with Group Officer Tim Desmond
Peninsula Group of Brigades has received a new addition to their fleet and named it in honour of a former Group Communications Officer.
The new $85,000 Ford Ranger 4X4 was purchased via the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) and replaced a 7-year-old model the group previously used.
Peninsula Group contributed an additional $29,000 toward the total cost, supplementing the VESEP grant.
Group Officer Tim Desmond was officially handed the keys to a new Field Command Vehicle (FCV) by Christopher Brayne MP, representing the Minister for Emergency Services.
Tim said the benefit of the new FCV is the improved layout and enhanced safety features.
“The new standard build enables members to go between different vehicles quickly, as they all have a similar set up now,” he said.
“The design makes it easier for members performing roles like Strike Team Leader or Sector Commander as they often need to drive different vehicles, especially when on deployment.
“The new vehicle also has more capacity to be used as a control point for localised incidents.
“It has whiteboard facilities, drawers from rear, and slide outs from the sides which provide a working space to be used to assist the Incident Controller.”
Tim encouraged other brigades, and especially groups to take advantage of the VESEP program.
Peninsula Group’s previous five vehicles have been funded by group funds or generous community donations, and this is the first time the VESEP program has been utilised to fund a vehicle.
“Our group doesn’t have the capacity to fundraise the same way our brigades do,” Tim said.
“Peninsula Group encompasses nine brigades, if we were to fundraise within our response area, it would heavily impact the local brigades’ fundraising capabilities.
“That’s the beauty of VESEP; brigades and groups can apply for grants to fund vehicles or projects, without having to rely on fundraising or funding the purchase entirely from brigade/group funds.
“The VESEP program is just fantastic, I strongly encourage everyone to apply.”
The recent handover event was also an opportunity to honour former Group Communications Officer, Dawn Hind.
Dawn was present for what she thought was a simple vehicle handover and said she was dumbfounded and quite shocked when Tim unveiled the FCV which was named in her honour.
“I consider myself an equal, everyone deserves this honour. I was just assisting the workers; they were the ones out there doing all the work,” she said.
A member of Rye Fire Brigade since 1968, Dawn held the Group Communications Officer role with Peninsula Group for almost 20 years, from 1984 through to 2003.
“The radio was on 24/7 in my home. It was just part of my life, like many other women at the time,” Dawn said.
“I did all my work from the kitchen, except on the big jobs when I would go into the Group Headquarters.
“During those years, I had teenage children at home; other women had much smaller children though, which made it difficult for them.
“Once I had grandchildren there were a few times when I was holding a baby bottle in one hand, bouncing the baby in a bouncinette with my foot and answering the radio with the other hand!”
While still a registered brigade member with Rye, Dawn said she’s not as heavily involved as she once was, but still makes time to go in as needed and catch up with the many friends she’s made over the years.
“The best part of my time as a radio operator has been all the wonderful friendships with other radio operators in surrounding groups or within the region. We still make the effort to meet up regularly.”
- Dawn Hind
- (left to right): Chris Brayne MP, Dawn Hind and Group Officer Tim Desmond