Penshurst Fire Brigade received a major boost to its firefighting fleet today as the Member for Western Victoria, Gayle Tierney, handed over the keys to a new Ultra Light Tanker.
Ms Tierney said the $116,000 tanker would make the brigade’s bushfire response significantly more effective.
“With the fire season approaching, the new tanker will be a welcome addition to the region’s fire defences,” Ms Tierney said.
“This asset will boost the brigade’s capabilities, especially when responding to spot fires in remote locations.”
The tanker’s primary role is to perform a first-attack response to remote spot-fires that prove difficult for larger vehicles to access.
The four-wheel drive tanker has 550-litre capacity tank and is equipped with a winch for vehicle recovery and removing of debris from the road.
The vehicle is equipped with Class A Foam, which uses less water for extinguishing fires and increases the efficiency of fire suppression.
“Mobility in difficult and remote terrain are vital in the critical stages of a fire and the new Ultra Light Tanker will greatly assist the brigade achieve that,” Ms Tierney said.
“Its all-terrain capability will give the brigade greater versatility to respond to incidents.”
The tanker can also be used to support back-burning operations, and for ‘mopping-up’ and patrolling duties.
The Ultra Light Tanker was funded through the 2009 Bushfire Response and Recovery Initiative.
As part of the initiative, the Victorian Government allocated $10.3 million for the purchase of 42 Ultra Light Tankers across the State.
Penshurst Fire Brigade has been actively protecting their community since 1943 – responding on average to 13 incidents each year.
“The 31-member strong brigade holds a great sense of pride and satisfaction in protecting not just their own community, but also their regional neighbours,” Ms Tierney said.
On Black Saturday Penshurst Brigade assisted in suppressing the fire at Purdeet Lane, near Caramut, and supplied a Strike Team to the Churchill campaign over the following 3 weeks.
“On behalf of all Victorians, I would like to thank the members of Penshurst Fire Brigade for their valuable service,” Ms Tierney said.
“We recognise the extraordinary skills, dedication and community mindedness of these volunteer firefighters.”
Ms Tierney remarked that Victoria had more than 90,000 emergency services volunteers, with the Country Fire Authority (CFA) being one of the largest volunteer-based emergency services in the world.
“The State Government values the important work of the State’s emergency services and is committed to ensuring that they have all the necessary resources to perform their role,” she said.
“Accordingly, this year’s Budget delivered a $136.6 million boost to Victoria’s emergency services, underlining the state government’s commitment to bushfire preparation and response.”
State Budget funding allocated $35.4 million for personnel training at Incident Control Centres, $28.5 million to upgrade and improve bushfire warnings and upgrade intelligence gathering, and $41.8 million for CFA to help communities better prepare themselves for the bushfire season.
Ms Tierney said the State Government was also spending $9.2 million employing 18 additional CFA personnel to train local brigades to support and advise private landowners, local councils and government agencies on vegetation management.