As reported in a recent CFA Connect article, the 2012 Fire Season is rapidly approaching, and local training sessions - together with several community projects - have resulted in an excellent display of commitment by the Rushworth BMT and members.
Last Sunday morning, the Brigade welcomed Mr Paul Weller MP, State Member for Rodney, and a number of invited guests, to Rushworth's 1938
vintage Fire Station for the official handover of the Brigade's new Mitsubishi/Bell Ultralight Tanker.
The new vehicle replaces a utility-based Slip-On unit, which provided the Brigade's backup rural fire suppression capability for several years. The Slip-On was acquired by Toolleen Fire Brigade, and so remains within the CFA's Waranga Group.
The ULT was first delivered to the Brigade in early 2012 for evaluation and testing, and the vehicle came through with flying colours! A few suggested changes were then carried out by the CFA workshops, and the vehicle was returned to the Brigade for full operational use in time for Rushworth's Easter Festival Parade.
The four wheel drive ULT is ideal for operations in an around Rushworth, where a mixture of open grasslands, dry forests, hilltop wineries, historic mine-pitted gold-diggings precincts and the town itself, can provide a challenge for any fire service vehicle.
The little tanker's sure-footed ride, amazing turning circle, abundance of power and excellent on-board fire-suppression equipment meet the Brigade's requirements for a flexible support vehicle superbly; its thousand litre tank and crew-protection systems are especially welcome features.
In his short address, Mr Weller commented on the Brigade's 128-year history, and how the ULT will supplement its future service delivery.
He noted that the vehicle had been acquired using seed funding from within the Brigade, heavily supported by a grant from the Victorian Government's $11.95 million 2012/13 Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP), which assists Emergency Service providers to acquire vehicles and other operational equipment, and upgrade amenities.
Before officially handing over the ULT keys to Brigade Captain Graeme Wall, Mr Weller congratulated the Rushworth Brigade members for maintaining their high standards and excellent service delivery.
Pending the construction of Rushworth's new Fire Station (hopefully during 2013), the ULT will be housed together with the Brigade's Light Pumper in a shed at the rear of the main Station building. At present, only the Brigade's primary tanker and its Forward Control Vehicle can be
accommodated inside the eighty-four year old Fire Station itself!
Within an hour of the handover, Rushworth's Ultralight Tanker joined its bigger brother at nearby town of Colbinabbin, where Brigades from the Waranga Group gathered for a "sandbox" training exercise with representatives from Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria and the State
The exercise considered what would happen if a loaded livestock carrier collided with a minibus and utility carrying farm chemicals, and included the CFA's Echuca-based Hazmat Team (complete with wash-down equipment) to demonstrate what actions each service would carry out, the facilities used to deliver those services, and how the various services could support one another if such an emergency occurred in real life.