Strathfieldsaye Fire Brigade has taken possession of a new light tanker to improve its emergency response in an urban/rural setting.
CFA board member Beth Davidson presented the $217,000 light tanker to the brigade at a ceremony on the weekend.
The 1700-litre tanker was purchased through the Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) as an upgrade for the previous slip-on unit. The brigade contributed $34,000 towards the cost.
The four-wheel drive off-road vehicle has been a welcome boost to the brigade's firefighting capacity, both locally and as part of strike teams deployed across the state.
It replaced the previous slip-on unit, and has a greater crew and water capacity, better stowaway and a modern water delivery system, whilst still retaining the ability to access local bush areas.
Brigade captain Matt McCarthy said the light tanker was an essential vehicle.
He said when the brigade was planning for the 2018-19 VESEP grant, it was a priority to replace the existing slip-on unit with an appliance with greater firefighting capacity, to enhance operational capability.
Captain McCarthy said the new tanker could carry additional crew and was better suited to the brigade's urban rural interface.
"It's important to have a second tanker available to carry more crew, more equipment and essentially, more water," he said.
"Having a smaller light tanker to enable access in housing estates and into the bush was a priority in a response area like ours."
The tankers are designed to be highly manoeuvrable to help respond rapidly to grass and scrub fires, to navigate difficult areas to access and have an independent pump to help fight fires and draw water quickly and safely.
Captain McCarthy said the brigade was grateful for ongoing community generosity, which supported the brigade in securing the new light tanker.
"Our ongoing fundraising is a fortnightly community raffle, run through the summer months at the local hotel," he said.
"There was also a considerable donation through the estate of a local Strathfieldsaye resident, Peter Ryall, who left considerable funds for community benefit.
More council news: Scrap Marong's trotting track, build ovals, council officers recommend
"Peter's family allocated $20,000 to the brigade at the time we were raising money for the new truck.
"I'd like to acknowledge the family of Peter Ryall. Their generosity gave the brigade a significant boost."
The brigade welcomed the official handover event after several delays due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The Strathfieldsaye Fire Brigade has been serving the local community for more than 20 years and played an active role in the devastating 2019/20 fires, with members deployed to Mallacoota and areas of NSW.
If you're reading this it's because you're a loyal subscriber to the Bendigo Advertiser. If you want to get more out of your subscription join the discussion on the Bendigo Advertiser's subscriber group on Facebook today.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.