Boolarra CFA News – Sep, 2011


Thanks to all the community members who dropped off unwanted car, truck and tractor batteries on the pallet next to our scrap metal bin. With the money raised from this ongoing venture we were able to purchase 76 piece tool kits for each of our 3 fire fighting vehicles.


Using money raised through community donations of scrap metal deposited in our bin, members Peter Morrison and John Collins have made and erected two new antenna masts, which will hold our radio antennas 15 metres in the air. The masts are made from 50mm x 50mm steel tubing and are secured by guy ropes. One aerial is for our UHF radios and the other is for our CFA radios. These new aerials, which are much higher than our former ones, will significantly enhance our communication on both radios.


Our brigade members have been kept on their toes this year with an array of different types of turn outs – 1 x plantation fire, 2 x windrow fires, 1 x barbeque fire, 3 x fallen trees down over roads and power lines, 1 x Motor Vehicle Accident (milk tanker), 1x chimney fire and 1x request by police for assistance when a man was threatening to burn his house down. Our members have to be well trained to deal with all sorts of emergency situations.


Ten of our members joined with about 25 members from other brigades to listen to Leading Senior Constable Grant Phillips of the Latrobe Highway Patrol at Monash University recently. He spoke about the laws when driving fire trucks “CODE 1” (with lights and sirens) and the dangers and consequences of it. He also instructed us on “Crime Scene Preservation” at Motor Vehicle Accidents with particular reference to where and where not to park the fire truck so as not to damage or destroy vital evidence needed for traffic accident investigators.


Every two months the brigades of the Morwell Group gather at a nominated brigade’s fire station where they participate in a training exercise organised by the host brigade. The most recent Round Robin was conducted at the Morwell Fire Station where the 38 fire fighters were given a number of short exercises that covered a garage fire, an acetylene bottle fire, a motor vehicle that had crashed into a power pole bringing down power lines and a chlorine gas spill. Positive pressure ventilation was also demonstrated where a building was cleared of smoke in about 2 minutes.


Recently several of our members participated in a large scale, public decontamination exercise to test new equipment that is being housed at the Morwell Fire Station. Suspected contaminated people were given a large “plastic bag ” in which they had to undress and put their clothes down a chute leading to a contamination container. They then moved to the shower section of the long tent where they removed their plastic bag and were showered by what seemed to be 50 nozzles. After the shower they were checked by hand held probes and if contaminants were still evident it was back into the shower, otherwise participants were given special suits to wear and were checked by medical staff. The people who were conducting the cleansing were all wearing breathing apparatus gear and splash suits and looked like astronauts who were going to walk on the moon.

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I have been asked by the editorial committee of The Boolarra Link to include in each edition, a humorous true story about something that has happened to member/s of the Boolarra Fire Brigade while assisting our community.


Several years ago there was a hayshed fire a couple of kilometres out of Boolarra. One of our members was a little tardy getting to the fire as at the time he was trying to assist a cow that was experiencing difficulty calving. To arrive at the scene as quickly as he could he took some back roads and approached the incident coming down the road towards Boolarra. As it was late at night a fireman had stationed himself on the road near the entrance of the property so he could direct other fire trucks to the scene. Our member quickly approached the firemen on the road, jumped out of the car and enquired whether they needed him to get his tractor and forks to help remove some the hay from the shed. While the fireman radioed to the Incident Controller and awaited his reply, our member stood on the side of the road looking down at the burning hayshed.

All of a sudden our fireman caught a glimpse of something moving past him. As he reeled around he saw the car that he had arrived in – his wife’s brand new 2 week old car – rolling off down the road with the engine still running, the head lights still on, and obviously the hand brake off.

He desperately began to chase the car down the middle of the road but the car was gaining speed. It then slowly began to veer to the left – and over the side of the embankment it went with our fireman still running beside it but not knowing how to stop it in the dark.

As he looked over the embankment he could see his wife’s car balancing precariously half way down the embankment. The back right hand wheel was off the ground and the whole car was rocking as it balanced. The lights of the car clearly illuminated the murky waters of the Morwell River several metres directly below. He was in shock! What would be worse, losing the car in the river or telling his wife?

Luckily a fire truck from a neighbouring brigade was arriving and the crew saw the predicament our fire fighter’s car was in. They were able to carefully secure a rope to the back wheel that was swaying in the breeze and anchored the other end to their fire truck to prevent it from toppling into the river.

Two hours later a tow truck from Morwell arrived and was able haul the vehicle, with engine and lights still operating, back onto the road without even a scratch.

Our fireman never did get down to the hayshed fire and to this day his wife doesn’t know anything about the night her brand new car nearly had a wash in the Morwell River.     (But she might now…Ed)