Integral $145k grant

05 Jun 2018 Border Mail, Albury-Wodonga (General News) by Shana Morgan A HUGE boost in equipment worth $145,000 will go to the CFAs District 24 headquarters in Wodonga following the latest round of Victorian government grants. Four thermal imaging cameras worth a total of $45,868 will be placed at the Chiltern, Mount Beauty, Rutherglen and Yackandandah brigades to give firefighters the same capabilities as their counterparts in bigger cities. CFA operations officer Mark Owens said the first allocation of cameras went to bigger brigades, because the equipment can often locate hot spots at house fires, but can also be used to ensure grassfires are completely extinguished. Now theyre an integral part of everything we do because they can save hours, he said. Another $30,000 will be spent on capability and capacity workshops to train volunteers to run command posts out of their brigades during serious bushfires using new laptops and radios. Volunteers will also be able to to attend meetings and training sessions via video conference from their towns using a $31,800 IT upgrade including a camera, monitor and microphone. Mr Owens said travel to Wodonga for training could be time-consuming so the CFA wanted to ensure volunteer hours were well-spent. He said the district was pleased to receive the money under the enhancing volunteerism grants program, which does not require brigades to contribute any money themselves. The grants also included funding for five new defibrillators and alumni group development. Northern Victoria MP Jaclyn Symes said volunteer firefighters were often the first line of defence against emergencies and the funding would help strengthen volunteerism and brigade culture. The volunteers in country Northern Victoria are a treasured part of our community, so I am delighted they have been successful in securing this latest round of funding, she said.