CFA is recognising Earth Day today, Friday 22 April, with a group of CFA brigades in North East Victoria preparing to install solar panels and batteries on 12 fire stations to increase the resilience of local communities.
CFA’s Bogong Group, in partnership with Indigo Shire Council, successfully applied for a Federal Government grant of more than $500,000 for the Bogong Group Bushfire Resilience Power Project.
Group Officer David Box said the project will enhance community resilience by providing confidence in emergency service facilities.
“Whenever there are power outages, whether that’s through emergency situations like fires or floods, the community will still have a fully powered CFA station that can also act as a gathering place,” GO Box said.
The funds are from the Federal Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program, and GO Box said the Group was heavily involved during the 2019/20 fire season.
“Our neighbouring areas like the Upper Murray were directly impacted so it was natural for our brigades to support with equipment and personnel into those areas that were hardest hit.
“Power outages played a major impact on people’s lives both during and after the fires went through the Upper Murray.”
The solar panels and batteries will be installed at Allan’s Flat, Beechworth, Dederang, Falls Creek, Gundowring, Kergunyah, Kiewa, Mt Beauty, Sandy Creek and Charleroi, Stanley, Tawonga, and Wooragee fire stations.
The project is expected to be delivered within two years, under the auspices of Indigo Shire Council.
It will add to the more than 40 CFA fire stations across the state that have solar electricity generating systems, along with CFA HQ in Burwood East.
General Manager Infrastructure Services Anthony Ramsay said solar panels installed by brigades are one of many sustainability measures being undertaken across the organisation.
“One of our most energy efficient initiatives is the selection of materials for new buildings which can substantially reduce the energy they require,” he said.
“We also select appropriate fitting such as energy efficient lightbulbs and hot water systems.”
“CFA is also working to reduce emissions in our transport vehicle fleet, with eight fully electric vehicles and a growing number of hybrid vehicles expected to reach 34% by June 2022.
“Our trucks use utilising recycling programs so components such as batteries and tyres from tankers and other operational vehicles don’t end up in landfill.”
- Sandy Creek and Charleroi Fire Station is one of the 12 stations that will be receiving solar panels and batteries
- Bogong Group FCV