The brigade, which boasts a heavy pumper, pumper/ tanker, Hazmat, FOV, BA refill trailer and a trailer pump, is the only integrated brigade within District 24 and manned 24 hours a day. Its location alongside District 24 HQ puts it right within the hub of the district and the action, which often involves a trip across the border or over to suppport the military at its local base.
Wodonga Fire Brigade provides a highly professional emergency service to a community of approximately 30,000 people, while providing support to the neighbouring rural areas and into Albury when required.
OIC Operations Officer John Bigham describes the brigade as a great model for integration with career staff and volunteers enjoying a good relationship.
“This is very much one team,” he says.
“Wodonga is the busiest brigade in the district, and responds to around 500 calls a year, with the predominant type of call being structure and grass fires and motor vehicle accidents.
“They provide support to all brigades in Wodonga Group and, on occasions, all around the district and into District 23, with a manning of three staff on a shift and an extremely capable volunteer membership,.
According to senior volunteer officer Lieutenant Alex Todd, who has just commenced his fifth term at the helm, Wodonga Brigade is in a strong position, with a volunteer membership of approximately 45 (25 of whom are operational).
"We have a great diversity of experience within the brigade and have five female operational members. A recent recruitment campaign saw an additional six members join," Alex says.
"Each of the lieutenants are responsible for a portfolio and this has worked well to make sure we have a great coverage of all aspects within the brigade.
"We are extremely proud of the manner in which brigade members (and the Wodonga Group) have a willingness to participate in strike teams and Group Exercises as well as fuel reduction burns whenever the need arises.
Station Officer Dave Brown invited 'The Fireman' to come along to a 'B' Shift - an opportunity that was too good to miss out on. After spending some time with SO Brown, Leading Fire Fighter Andrew Schulz and Fire Fighter Sean Murphy their passion for CFA and the brigade became obvious.
SO Dave emphasised that career staff are here to support volunteers.
“We enjoy a healthy relationship at Wodonga, not only in operational activities but also through our interaction with the community and our operational training," he said.
With only three staff per shift meeting all the demands requires a high level of flexibility from all personnel - and the support from volunteer members is regarded as invaluable.
Shifts at Wodonga are not different to any other integrated station, the morning commenced with the truck checks followed by a short duration drill.
Today being the first business day of the week saw SO Brown heading into the District Headquarters for the weekly planning meeting, cementing direct lines of communication between the station and the District.
While SO Brown is away at the District meeting, the station duties are continued under the watchful eye of Leading Firefighter Andrew Schulz.
The B shift team break for lunch before an afternoon of area familiarisation and pumping drills with a couple of ‘Above Strength’ firefighters that have not long been out of Fiskville.
Says SO David Brown: "We love having the additional capacity with the Above Strength guys as it allows us to train harder as well as giving us extra people on the fireground for the initial attack."