CFA will doorknock in Epsom on Monday
THE United Firefighters Union says the Country Fire Authority is short-staffed and it is calling on the state government to employ an extra 342 firefighters.
Firefighters will doorknock residents in Epsom on Monday to tell them about their working conditions, in the hope of drumming up support for their cause.
Union spokesman and local firefighter Travis Harris said the fire authority was promised an additional 342 firefighters after Black Saturday but the government had failed to deliver on its promise.
"They're putting the public at risk," he said.
He said the Bendigo brigade was in need of a second fire station and an additional 12 firefighters, so that a minimum of 10 firefighters could be on duty at any given time.
He said the station had five fire trucks and a minimum of seven firefighters on duty at present.
But he said that for safety reasons four firefighters were supposed to be in the first truck deployed to a fire and each truck had to have at least two firefighters.
If seven people were on duty, therefore, only two trucks could leave at any given time.
"It can put a lot of strain on us," Mr Harris said.
"We are understaffed and don't have enough resources to cope with what we're dealing with."
Mr Harris said the Bendigo brigade attended a high rate of incidents compared to other brigades across the state.
In an email, a government spokeswoman said the Coalition government was providing more resources to fire services than any previous government.
"Since coming to office in 2010, the Coalition government has provided the CFA with more than $2.29 billion," she said.
"This record investment in the CFA highlights the Coalition government's true commitment to CFA and recognises the critical role our firefighters play in keeping Victorians safe.
"The Coalition government will continue to fund the fire services so they have the resources to recruit and train sufficient numbers of firefighters to ensure the safety of all Victorians."