A NEW truck at Elphinstone fire brigade will give local firefighters greater safety and resources ahead of the coming fire season.
After years of fundraising efforts from the local community, the fire truck has this week been officially handed over to the Country Fire Authority brigade.
Elphinstone CFA captain Andy Chapman said the new truck – worth more than $250,000 – had been on the wishlist of the brigade for a long time. “For 25 years it’s been a bit of a dream,” he said.
“We’ve gone very hard at it with fundraisers for the last four years to raise money for it.”
Along with the money raised from fundraisers, the amount needed to buy the truck also came from CFA and state government funding.
Mr Chapman said garage sales and individual donations, as well as the sale of the old fire truck, helped the Elphinstone brigade raise $62,000 toward the new truck.
“The support has been amazing,” he said. “It’s a small community here and to raise that sort of money, I reckon, is pretty special.”
Member for Northern Victoria Damian Drum said the new truck couldn’t have been delivered without the support from the local community.
At Sunday’s handover of the keys, Mr Drum praised the efforts of the local volunteer firefighters.
“They need to be acknowledged for their huge contribution. Elphinstone doesn’t have a footy club or other infrastructure, and to raise this much money is a great effort,” he said. “The CFA has become the hub of the community.”
Mr Chapman said the new 3.4C tanker would bring the brigade up to date with the latest firefighting equipment.
“It’s a quantum leap forward for the community,” he said.
“It gives us the capability to respond to grass fires, house fires and car fires.
“It has that multipurpose use that’s important for this region.”
Mr Chapman said the truck’s safety features, including fireproof curtains and self-sustained water supply, would be crucial for protecting the lives of firefighters.
“You can’t stress enough on the safety aspects,” he said.
“If we got stuck in a burnover with this truck, we could activate the new spray system.”
Mr Drum said the government would continue to invest in more trucks and resources for central Victorian brigades and said frontline firefighters would not be affected by the government’s $41m budget cut to the CFA.