Response times for incidents in Eaglehawk rise, Castlemaine's drops

NEW DATA: New data shows the CFA is responding well to incidents in Bendigo and is just behind their target for Kangaroo Flat. Response times for Eaglehawk have fallen.
NEW DATA: New data shows the CFA is responding well to incidents in Bendigo and is just behind their target for Kangaroo Flat. Response times for Eaglehawk have fallen.

CFA crews missed response time targets for 23 per cent of incidents in significant urban areas in the Eaglehawk brigade area.

New quarterly response time data showed the average time for brigades from any area to arrive at incidents there was 8.44 minutes.

It was an increase from 7.47 minutes during the previous period, when crews responded to 100 per cent of incidents within eight minutes.

The CFA published response time data on a quarterly basis for brigade areas with a high volume of emergency incidents, including Bendigo, Castlemaine, Kangaroo Flat and Eaglehawk.

While CFA crews have 10 minutes to respond to many fires in urban areas, they target eight minutes for “hazard class two” incidents at commercial centres, industrial areas or places like schools and hospitals. 

Crews were making it to 98 per cent of hazard two incidents in the Bendigo area and 89 per cent in Kangaroo Flat.

Castlemaine had seen a marked improvement in response times, making it to 70 per cent of hazard two incidents compared to eight per cent in the period from July to September last year.

Statewide, the CFA was responding to 88 per cent of fires in significant urban areas within eight minutes, and to 89 per cent of all other fires in urban areas within a standard 10 minutes. 

A wide variance in response times across the state prompted emergency services minister James Merlino to say there were areas in Victoria where fire services were not keeping up with growth.

“This isn’t good enough,” he said

“Our fire services are still organised in a way that worked in the 1950s but doesn't work today. If we’re serious about community safety then we must make changes and bring our fire services into the 21st century.”

CFA chief officer Steve Warrington said the data showed where things were working well and enabled the organisation to identify where it could improve.

“The data shows that CFA is a high performing organisation that Victorians can trust,” Mr Warrington said.

“This data allows us to evaluate and analyse how resources are allocated, identify growth and look at where brigades may need additional assistance.

“The importance of holistic fire management is crucial and this data demonstrates CFA’s continued development of this approach, through educating communities on fire prevention and preparedness, not just providing an emergency response.

“CFA assessed 1,578 planning applications and held 235 Fire Ready Victoria workshops programs and services for the Victorian community.”