Moe RRT supports firefighters at Westbury
On Friday 17th January, after four days in a row of temperatures around 40 degrees Celsius, a bush fire started about 4 minutes from Moe, in the Gippsland region of Victoria. Unpredictable winds, and the proximity of the fire to the main power lines supplying most of Melbourne, made this fire a real danger.
CFA strike teams came from afar to relieve the local crews. Keen to offer assistance, the Moe Rapid Relief Team got in contact with the CFA. Their response was very positive. With the permission of the CFA incident controller, The RRT provided two refrigerated trailers of ice and water bottles, as well as a variety of other supplies, and set up refreshments tables at the Westbury fire station, which was the staging ground for the Westbury firefighting teams. Meals were also taken to the firefighters leaving the Moe station to start their shift.
On request from the CFA incident controller, The RRT supplied meals to those on the front line of the fire that couldn’t leave their position. It was rather eerie at night with dozens of fire trucks with lights flashing!
The Moe RRT was very keen to support the CFA who were giving up their time and in many cases, risking their lives and safety to protect us. We were very encouraged by the positive response we received from CFA leaders, firefighters and other emergency services.
The wind that night was expected to rise and change direction, so about 30 fire trucks were stationed around the section of bush where the fire had been contained. However, only an occasional gust or two that raised a few sparks and embers, sometimes starting small spot fires that the firefighters quickly put out. By morning, the fire had mostly burned itself out and over a hundred tired firefighters gathered at the Westbury station for breakfast.
RRT Members went around all their trucks and cleaned dusty windows. One firefighter commented, “I feel spoilt with one RRT member cleaning my windows and another cleaning the rubbish out of my cab!” Also provided by the RRT was insect repellent, coffee, water, Gatorade, chips, and fresh fruit. Was there anything else they needed? “What about an iPhone charger?” Ok – have to think of that next time!
By lunchtime Saturday, the fire was under control and the area declared safe. The firefighters were provided lunch before going back to their stations hopefully to get some rest before being called elsewhere. In total, over the day and night of RRT assistance, approximately 250 sandwiches, 60 packed meals, 2000 drinks, and 700kg of ice as well as chips, coffee, tea, tubs of fresh fruit and other supplies were provided.
The Moe RRT felt encouraged by the response from the CFA volunteers and leaders. They were very friendly and appreciative, often voicing their thanks. The RRT returned the thanks to the CFA –selfless heroes who were risking their safety to protect the community’s homes!
The Moe RRT was amazed at the generous donations they received from local businesses keen to support them in their cause. Woolworths, Coles, Bunnings and Saviges Road Service Station all contributed free merchandise to assist us feed and refresh the CFA volunteers. We are most grateful for their generosity!