North East Victorian firefighters will have more support when fighting fires, with CFA welcoming a new rehab vehicle for District 23.
The purpose-built truck includes crucial equipment such as cooling chairs and health monitoring systems to help the rehab team provide much needed assistance at major incidents.
D23 Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Rod Railton said it’s a welcome addition for the local rehab team.
“We’ve got rehab units in Districts 22 and 24 around us as well, and the demand on them was so great that it showed we needed to increase our own capacity,” said A/ACFO Railton.
“This new vehicle means we now have a means of transporting equipment quickly and efficiently, whereas before we had to rely on trailers and 4WDs.”
Rehab units are often called to major incidents and provide support with equipment like cooling chairs to help firefighters recover from exposure to radiant heat, electrolyte sticks for rehydration, and first aid kits.
The District 23 unit has also been expanded in recent years to include health monitoring functions to check carbon monoxide levels and other vital signs.
“Those health checks, as well as the cooling chairs which really bring down the core body temperatures, ensure our firefighters get a chance to take a break and recover before heading back to the fireground.
“The crew has also had a focus on hygiene due to the pandemic, with the vehicle and crew equipped with appropriate kits to ensure hygiene measures are in place.”
The District 23 rehab unit is made up of CFA volunteers from around the Wangaratta area, with the Killawarra fire brigade providing the core membership for the team.
“The rehab team is one of the many ways that people can volunteer with CFA without being a traditional firefighter,” said A/ACFO Railton.
“Over the years they’ve proved themselves in multiple scenarios and have really been looking out for our members to ensure they are safe on the fireground.
“We hoping to get even more interest in the unit now that we’ve got a dedicated vehicle.”
The new truck, which came into service early this month, was funded through the Victorian Government’s annual Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program.