Guest Speaker: Rodney Beale, Phillip Island Fire Brigade: June 2013
Many Fires – from earliest settlement – Suppression “Do it Yourself” – Isle of Wight - Burnt to the Ground 1925
Phillip Island Bush Fire Brigade – Formed 1937 ( Country Fire Brigades Board) – Phillip Island Bush Fire Brigade
1939 – Black Friday Fires
1944 – Investigation into above results in the Formation of the Country Fire Authority of Victoria to replace CFBB
1945 – CFA Phillip Island Rural Fire Brigade
1983 – Ash Wednesday Fires
Old definition of Urban and Rural
Reticulated water in town = Urban
The Rest = Rural)
1999 – Phillip Island Urban Fire
Brigade formed by reclassification from Phillip Island Rural Fire Brigade
2003 through 2007 – Major Campaign Fires
2009 – Black Saturday Fires
2010 – Isle of Wight - Burnt to the Ground ( My first Major Fire on the Island after arriving in April 2010)
2 December 2012 – Phillip Island Fire Brigade 75th Anniversary
2013 – Major Fires during Summer Period - another long campaign
Phillip Island Fire Brigade has progressed from a “ Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade” to a Professional Brigade with a significant Urban and Rural risk profile in line with the changing times and demographics for this area. Note however that service is still provided by Volunteers with support by CFA paid staff.
Training and equipment has evolved - From:Basic pumps and lines (hoses), branches (nozzles) and bushfire and basic structural fire fighting using Tankers, knapsack sprayers and bushes, shovels, beaters and rakes used by volunteers with little or no formal training
To: Now, the current situation with extensive modern equipment and formal training starting with a recruitment process which has a checking for suitability as a Volunteer Fire fighter and then minimum skills program ( and a 6 month probation). After successful completion of this the Fire fighter continues with progressive up-skilling via Australasian Standards training and practices to advanced Bushfire Fire fighting skills, Structural Fire Fighting skills, Driver Training, Urban Fire fighting, Use of Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA), Hazardous Materials incidents, Thermal Imaging, Leadership skills, Incident Management training – Crew Leader , Strike Team Leader, Sector Commander and other roles , First Aid including Defibrillator and Oxygen training.
The brigade currently has:
1. Type 3 Light Pumper ISUZU diesel, crew 6 – 1200 Litres of Water , 3000 Litres/minute Pump, extensive structural fire fighting (4 sets CABA) , Class A and B Foam) search and rescue and other incident equipment.
2. Type 3.4D Tanker HINO - ( 3000 Litres of Water, 4WD Diesel) - Diesel Pump 700-900 Litres/Minute – (2 Sets CABA), chain saw, Class A Foam, and bushfire fire fighting equipment. Crew 6
3. Slip OnUnit – Toyota 4WD Diesel – 400 Litres of water , petrol pump , crew of 2, with bushfire fire fighting equipment.
4. Nissan Patrol 4WD Diesel FCV (Forward Command Vehicle) crew of 5 fitted with extensive communications equipment, with some fire fighting equipment.
NOTE: All vehicles have portable lighting, first aid, analogue/digital radios, ( mobile and portable), defibrillators, and the pumper and FCV also carry Medical Oxygen. It must also be pointed out that the brigade gratefully acknowledges the support of the local community, the Phillip Island service clubs and community organisations
The population explosion on the island. Ignorance of Council by-laws , the CFA fire regulations, and the Traffic Act ( by new and existing residents and visitors)
Traffic on the island. Roads blocked by tourist and event traffic, as well as changes to roads. Isolation due to geography, delayed support.
Obtaining and retaining volunteers ( a Victoria wide issue). The change in work and personal requirements
The modern complexity of fires and incidents.
OHS Issues with current fire station, awaiting a new fire station to be built in 5 to 10 years, plus temporary fixes.
Aging fire fighters (the Baby Boomers)
and the Gen X,Y,Z attitudes to volunteerism.
Workload on Volunteers – including servicing Brigade, Group, District, Region, State-wide issues and requirements.
What can YOU do?
Become a member of the Fire Brigade, we have Operational and Support members. Your skillsand support are invaluable.
Be aware of Local and CFA law relating to fires and other potential incidents. NO BURNING OFF in built up areas, other areas – permit from Council. (see www.basscoast.vic.gov.au and www.cfa.vic.gov.au )
Have a FIRE PLAN and practice it. ( see www.cfa.vic.gov.au for details). Do not re-enter a burning building, you place yourself and others in danger and can interfere with the fire-fight. Make sure that you all gather at a safe place (e.g. front gate) so that the fire service can account for you.
Clearly mark your address – so that emergency services can easily find your location.
Clean up – and make sure that electricity meter box/switchboards are easily found, the same for gas and water (we will need to turn these off to prevent further damage) .
Report all suspicious behaviour to Police 1800 333 000, you may be responsible for the apprehension of an arsonist.
Report All Fires/Incidents to CFA via 000- Note that you must stay on line and be prepared to give full address of incident/fire ( nearest cross street), what is happening, are persons injured/ trapped/evacuated (how many), is theambulance and police, required. Other agencies may be needed.
If you need to discuss matters with the brigade then come and see us at 117 Settlement Road Cowes – when we are in attendance ( i.e. Tuesday evenings after 7:30 pm, Sunday Mornings after 9:30 am, or when the Station is open during the day.
Vote of thanks:Bill Overton gave the vote of thanks to Rodney for his most interesting and informative talk. Members showed their appreciation with acclamation.