Vital equipment supports brigades

Member News image Wangaratta Fire Brigade FCV


The Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) is a Victorian Government-funded initiative to ensure volunteers are well supported and have access to the best equipment and facilities. 


Under VESEP, the government contributes $2 for every $1 contributed by volunteers from organisations such as the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association, CFA, Life Saving Victoria, SES and any eligible volunteer emergency services group. CFA shared in $10.2 million across 145 projects under VESEP in 2020-21, with funding provided for a range of vital equipment.

We talked to four brigades about their important purchases thanks to VESEP funding.

Wangaratta’s special FCV
Wangaratta Fire Brigade’s new one-of-a-kind FCV was designed by brigade Captain Jason Allisey and former Killawarra Fire Brigade Captain Travis Ledger.

Designed to support a range of response needs, the vehicle boasts an interchangeable pod system that allows members to easily switch out a breathing apparatus (BA), gas flare-off or an FCV module depending on the incident. The vehicle also has its own computer system.

With matching funding courtesy of the brigade’s fire equipment maintenance (FEM) work, Jason said the vehicle allowed members to better support their community and fellow brigades.

“The modular nature of the FCV means we can get out the door more frequently and easily provide support at different types of incidents,” Jason said.

“We’re a BA brigade so for structure fires we can slot in the BA module within minutes and provide that additional support at incidents and to neighbouring brigades.

“The field command pod includes tabards, whiteboards and a computer which allows us to effectively support incident control at grass and scrub fires during the fire danger period."

New computers for Narrawong and Callignee
Narrawong Fire Brigade’s “old and tired” desktop PC has been replaced with a new laptop, printer and software thanks to this year’s round of VESEP funding.

“Our previous computer could no longer support Windows upgrades due to its age, which made it vulnerable to hackers and viruses,” brigade Secretary and Treasurer Graeme Tivey said.

“The grant allowed us to upgrade to the latest hardware and we now have a faster, safer system that can be updated when required.”

Graeme said the portability also meant members could use the laptop in their station office or meeting room as well as display information on the brigade’s TV screen.

“With the growth in digital and online information and training we can do a lot from home now, but for our less tech-savvy members sometimes watching things as a group at the station creates a complementary discussion that adds value,” he said.

“This laptop and equipment are also vital now with CFA processes such as FIRS moving online.”

Like Narrawong, Callignee Fire Brigade applied for a grant for new computer equipment under this year’s funding round. With matching funding provided through the brigade’s FEM work, Captain Ian Ewart said the new laptop created camaraderie for the brigade.

“Our existing computer was outdated and didn’t allow us to keep up with current apps,” Ian said. “Now if we want to do any training at the station, we can use online sources and run group sessions in the public hall adjoining the station.

“We were heavily impacted by the 2009 bushfires and one of our goals is to compile and digitally archive our brigade history and information.

“The laptop also allows us to display our turnout information as well as easily access and print important information such as Chief Officer’s Directions and Operations Bulletins so it’s available for everyone."

District 24 support vehicle
District 24’s Headquarters Brigade secured a new support vehicle through the 2020-21 VESEP funding with a little help from residents at a local aged care home who raise money for the brigade every year.

“It’s our brigade’s responsibility to take equipment to and support the brigades in our district when they respond to incidents,” District 24 Captain Mark Slater said.

“With our rehab unit only able to fit four people and up to seven support members needed at most incidents, this additional all-purpose vehicle is a critical piece of
equipment for us.

“It will be a godsend to have a dedicated vehicle available during the fire season to support the brigades in our district for any need that may arise, including getting equipment and personnel to the fireground.”


  • Member News imageNarrawong Fire Brigade laptop
  • Member News image District 24 Headquarters Brigade support vehicle
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