New resources engage communities over summer

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From Phillip Island to the Murray River and many places in between, CFA’s new fleet of eight mobile engagement units (MEUs) have been busy helping CFA members to meet the community.


Assisting with flood recovery in the north-west, to informing tourists about fire safety along the Great Ocean Road, CFA members have immediately put the MEUs into action.

Based on a Ford Transit van, the MEUs have their own independent power source, so can
operate just about anywhere, and in the first month of summer our members put that to the test.

The MEU is designed to stand out at a community event or field day. The design is intentionally different to our fire trucks and corporate vehicles because the MEU has a
different role.

The MEUs can be used to engage community members about a range of topics including recruitment and fundraising, and information about upcoming fuel reduction works or fire safety.

Koondrook Fire Brigade held a community ’thank you’ day in response to last year's flood events, and brigade Captain Ben Watts (pictured) was pleased to use one of the MEUs.

“We were lucky enough to secure the North West MEU for its first-ever public outing and it proved to be a drawcard at getting the attention of members of the public,” Ben said. “We had lots of positive conversations and gave out community information.

“I especially liked being able to play our own tailored media and recruitment video through the TV. Also, the power is fully selfcontained which meant we could park it where we would get the best volume of passing traffic – we weren’t constrained by where we could plug into 240 volts.”

The new vans are more practical than the two large bus-sized MEUs CFA had in the past, which could be operated by only a few people and were too large for certain situations. Having the eight regionally-based MEUs also means more members will to be able to attend local events in more places.

With the solar system equipment plugged in and the equipment on standby ready to go, the MEUs can be set up and packed away in minutes. The 200amp/hour battery will hold enough power supply to run the inbuilt equipment for several hours, and the solar panels will generate power to recharge the battery. There is no need to carry fuel, no setting up a generator and, importantly when you are talking with people, no noise.

The vehicle can be driven on a standard car licence. It is diesel powered with an automatic gearbox and a similar length to a dual cab ute, and no formal training is needed before using it.

All CFA members can request to use an MEU. A booking request system is available through Members Online.

Community generosity after the 2019-20 Black Summer fire campaign provided CFA with the funds to develop and maintain these eight new resources.


Submitted by Craig Hearson