Porepunkah Fire Brigade has begun the Min Skills program, introducing the new members to the basics before they are kitted out with their PPE.
Porepunkah is a small town, just down the road from well known tourist town Bright, but the response area is quite large, and includes some very isolated and challenging terrain. Mt Buffalo National Park is just a part of this, as well as HVP pine plantations, steep mountainous eucalypt forest and narrow valleys. Members of the brigade are a varied lot, both in age and occupation. A number are farmers, often making turnouts to smaller fires difficult, especially during harvest time, which could be grapes, olives or hay crops up here. But when the big fires hit, their experience and knowledge of the landscape becomes invaluable. We also have members who live and work either in Porepunkah, nearby towns such as Bright or as far away as Wangaratta. Such is the make up of many rural brigades, and indeed the wonderful diversity of CFA.
While Porepunkah no longer has a junior program, due partly to the fact that the kids have all grown up, and the next generation hasn’t taken their spot, it is encouraging to see some younger members joining, and with them some more women.
Last weekend, Porepunkah Training officer Ed Rozitis, assisted by Sarah Black introduced three new recruits to the basics, in readiness to begin their Minimum Skills program. Tanker layout and equipment, pump operations, hose laying and handling skills were covered. A few more Saturdays will be spent in the classroom, with other newbies from nearby brigades, covering firefighting theory and safety amongst other things. The recruits will then sit their practical and theory exam, and be welcomed into the crew this summer.
Ed Rozitis has been a training officer for over 15 years, and was very much missed for a few seasons when he moved south. Back in the saddle, this years new crew members will benefit from Ed’s extensive experience as a fire fighter, trainer and not to forget is his sense of humor.