Training boosts firefighting skills for rural brigades

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CFA volunteers from the west of the state have boosted their firefighting skills after recently completing a structural firefighting course.


Volunteers from brigades including Kaniva, South Lillimur, Vectis, Nhill, and Horsham attended the course in July, with practical assessments held at the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC) in Longerenong.

The group worked closely with instructors who provided their support, guidance and expertise along the way.

District 17 Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO) Mark Gunning said it was important training for volunteers in a modern world of increased fire activity and hazards.

“It is critical for volunteer firefighters to be aware of changing risks and hazards and keep up to date with their training for their own safety and the safety of the people in our communities,” said ACFO Gunning.

“Structure fires have changed over recent years, with fuels in houses having higher heat outputs and creating more toxic smoke than ever before.”

The volunteer firefighters involved gained valuable training experience, with subjects including compartment fire behaviour, search and rescue, advanced extinguishing methods, forcible entry and more.

Course participant Jesse Raggatt from Vectis Fire Brigade said the course was invaluable for him to gain a greater knowledge and understanding of structure fires.

“In communities with urban/rural interfaces and an expanding urban fringe, courses like this are vital to rural brigade members,” Jesse said.

“This course has created a lot more awareness for me. Vectis may not be an urban brigade, but we still have houses and structures in rural areas and we respond to more of these than grass and scrub fires.

“In some rural brigades where there’s an older culture, sometimes there’s less knowledge in responding to structural or low structural emergencies in the community.

“At a minimum, I think rural brigade members would benefit from participating in a low structure course, which covers important safety aspects like smoke inhalation.”

ACFO Gunning commended participants who attended the course, held over nine sessions.

“Many had to travel to attend these sessions, and in some cases, had to travel great distances,” ACFO Gunning said.

“This was a major commitment from those individuals but is crucial for their respective brigades to be able to continue to respond to emergencies effectively.

“There was strong feedback from participants that this type of training was invaluable to be able to do what they do best – protect life and property.”

Images courtesy of Bronwyn Hastings


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Submitted by CFA Media