New pumper a boon for safety across the region

27 Jun 2018 Wangaratta Chronicle, Wangaratta VIC (General News) by Freyja Postlethwaite COMMUNITY safety throughout the Rural City of Wangaratta has been boosted by the addition of a new Country Fire Authority (CFA) response vehicle. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) on Monday handed over an $800,000 heavy pumper to the Wangaratta Fire Brigade as part of a statewide rollout of 12 brand new vehicles. It will help firefighters support nearby CFA volunteers for structure fires, major incidents and motor vehicle accidents. The new pumper boasts updated lockers and stowage to allow the carriage of extra road crash rescue support equipment and will replace the 2012 model currently in use. Brigade members will begin training next Thursday so that 30 staff and 10 volunteers will be prepared to operate the vehicle. They will also be able to respond to any code zero incidents to assist other emergency services including Ambulance Victoria, State Emergency Services (SES) and Victoria Police. The Wangaratta brigades response capability will increase to a 25 kilometre radius thanks to the addition of the heavy pumper. Operations officer Trevor Logan said the nearest urban pumper is stationed half an hour away at Benalla, and the new vehicle would mean emergency responses could be delivered sooner. To be able to get this vehicle with a crew minimum of four out the door in 90 seconds assisting our rural brigades and SES is a big bonus for community safety, he said. Rural brigades are completely volunteer-based so its very hard getting a good volunteer crew during the day because of work. Currently rural brigades have to actually call us for support but we will be called to certain types of fires straight away. It (the new vehicle) enhances not just safety in the Wangaratta community but in surrounding communities as well. Ms Symes said the State Government was working closely with the CFA to ensure firefighters have the infrastructure, equipment and training required to keep people safe. Wangaratta Fire Brigade provides an amazing service to the community throughout North East Victoria and this new heavy pumper is a significant addition to its firefighting arsenal, she said. This is a good outcome for the community so on the occasions firefighters are needed they can get there sooner.