Firefighting in Victoria’s alpine regions provides unique challenges for our volunteers.
With significant amounts of tourists flocking to the areas during the colder months and the snow, ice and weather these are particularly challenging operational environments. The CFA brigades in this region must make constant adjustments in responding to and managing fire and other incidents.
This year’s snow season is already in full force, with many tourists visiting Victoria’s alpine region in recent weeks. It has been the best start to the snow season in 22 years. The CFA has three brigades in the alpine region – Mt Hotham-Dinner Plain, Mt Buller and Falls Creek.
As tourism booms and people flock from afar to visit our region, fire safety is always at the front of our minds. Chalets and other holiday accommodation present a range of risks that may not exist within the typical home, and snowy driving conditions can prove tricky for those unfamiliar.
In the colder months, alpine brigades are most commonly responding to fires involving chimneys, laundries and kitchens, and fires involving drying out wet ski gear on heaters and fireplaces are common across all the resorts.
Incidents involving motor vehicle collisions or vehicles sliding off the roads are ever-increasing, and we encourage people to prepare well, make sure they allow enough time to get to the snowfields and drive safely to the road and weather conditions.
CFA focuses heavily on fire safety to ensure we meet our mission to protect life and property. This work includes essential safety measure requirements, fire safety skills and fire warden training for business and building owners and staff in the region, individual structural fire risk plans and building evacuation exercises.
This work is vital to ensuring people are safe, whether they are visitors or residents within the area. This is achieved by the combined work of the Alpine Commander, the three seasonal winter Commanders and our dedicated alpine brigade firefighters.
Alpine brigades are equipped with specialised vehicles that enable them to get to incidents as quickly as possible. These vehicles include our brand new alpine tracked pumpers, which are all equipped with special features including new options for deploying firefighting hose and equipment.
These appliances have been specifically designed to operate in snow and other challenging elements that are unique to alpine environments. We also have our fleet of alpine support appliances that provide equipment for firefighters to reach fires and incidents in a safe and efficient timeframe.
The use of snowmobiles in responding to fires and incidents is part of our alpine fleet at Falls Creek and Mt Hotham – Dinner Plain Brigades. Our three alpine fire brigades are better equipped than they have ever been in the history of CFA involvement in the alpine resorts.
Just like all CFA volunteers, members from our alpine brigades are there to protect their communities year round. They train and respond in any weather conditions and are always thinking outside of the box on meeting the challenges of the alpine environment.
We encourage those coming to the snow to remember their fire safety and always think logically when staying in unfamiliar accommodation. Always use a firescreen in front of open fireplaces, and never dry clothing close to a heater or open fire. Remember to stay alert while cooking and know your accommodation’s fire escape plan.
||Alpine Commander Mark Owens