Category Archives: Victoria

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Victoria | New field operations vehicles for CFA

Seven high-tech communications trucks worth more than $300,000 each are being deployed across the state to improve communications during major incidents and emergencies.

CFA’s new Field Operations Vehicles will be set up at large scale incidents – such as bushfires and factory fires, to allow better communications between the fireground and incident control centres.

CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said the state-of-the-art vehicles will relay high-quality information from anywhere in the state.

“CFA’s new field operations vehicles will provide incident controllers with real-time information from the fireground, and decisions made in the incident control centre can now be fed back to the field instantly,” Mr Ferguson said.

“I have no doubt these new trucks will prove to be a great advancement in fireground communications.”

“Our crews will be able to run their emergency response from the vehicle, or use it as a central communications point between the incident and control centres across the state.

As well as improved communications, field operations vehicles will provide crews with instant access to CFA’s computer networks, fire maps and printing facilities, an on-board weather station, and the versatile vehicles can also be used as a health monitoring station.

“Faster information leads to quicker decisions, from sharing information with our crews on the ground all the way to providing more timely warnings for our communities,” CO Ferguson said.

When in operation the vehicles will be positioned well behind the fireground and testing at Australian Defence Force facilities shows they’re capable of operating in temperatures of over 55 degrees celsius.

“The field operations vehicles have advanced technology on board but have been built with emergencies in mind – they’re very easy to use.

“They can safely operate for over 12 hours on a full tank of diesel and another three hours on the emergency batteries if mains power isn’t available.”

The vehicles have been delivered to Bairnsdale, Golden Square, Inverloch, Mildura, Nillumbik Group and Wendouree, and will be ready for action over the coming months after brigades have received training. Moe South Brigade is expected to receive its in the coming weeks.

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Victoria | SES advises to prepare for wild weather

With a severe weather warning current for most of Victoria, Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) is asking all Victorians to prepare for potentially damaging and destructive winds.

The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a Severe Weather Warning for destructive winds and damaging winds for people in the Wimmera, North Central, North East, South West, Central, West and South Gippsland and East Gippsland forecast districts.

Elevated areas and bayside areas are most likely to experience peak gusts as they build throughout the day and into the evening.
VICSES Deputy Chief Officer Operations Tim Wiebusch asked Victorians to prepare themselves.

“High winds can turn ordinary items from your backyard into airborne hazards. One of the biggest dangers during high winds are items such as trampolines and outdoor settings, including umbrellas, which have the potential to become airborne,” he said.

Mr Wiebusch said there were a few easy steps people could take to reduce the risk of damage to people or property during a storm, such as:

– Check that loose items such as outdoor settings, trampolines and umbrellas are secured

– Stay indoors and away from windows

– Do not park under trees

– Drive to the conditions – there may be debris across the road such as fallen powerlines, trees and tree branches

People should stay informed about their situation by listening to their local emergency broadcaster or viewing warnings on the VICSES or VicEmergency website,” Mr Wiebusch said.

“Victorians are reminded to call 132 500 in a flood storm emergency and Triple Zero (000) in a life-threatening emergency.”

Further information

To view current warnings, visit our Warnings map.

For more information on preparing for storms, visit our StormSafe page.

Victoria | Avoid Father’s Day mishaps

Paramedics are urging men to take care on Father’s Day – whether you are celebrating with the family or doing some renovations with a new power tool.

Last Father’s Day paramedics were called to a number of home renovation accidents including a man who cut his hand with a saw, and a man and his son injured when they were struck by a metal pole as they repaired a garage door opener.

Senior paramedic team manager Sophie Faulkner said some DIY accidents at any time of the year can have horrific consequences.

‘In the past we have seen people killed and seriously injured in backyard and DIY accidents,’’ Ms Faulkner said.

‘Tragically that includes cases where men died after falling from a ladder.

‘Serious injuries can have life-long impacts like a man who was blinded in one eye in an angle grinder accident.

‘Make sure you have necessary safety equipment and don’t take short-cuts. If in doubt, consider getting a professional in to help with the work.’

Last year on Father’s Day paramedics were called to accidents including;

• A man in his 60s who cut his hand with a saw
• A man in his son injured while repairing a garage door when a metal pole fell on them
• A man who injured his hand while repairing a fence at home
• A man wearing thongs standing on a ladder cleaning the car, when he fell from the ladder

It’s also important to take care when enjoying the day with family.

`Last year we saw a man in his 30s hurt when he landed awkwardly while teaching his son to somersault,’ Ms Faulkner said.

‘Some Father’s Day accidents we were called to didn’t need an emergency ambulance. People who suffer minor injuries should consider alternatives like their GP.

‘People should only ever call Triple Zero (000) if they have a medical emergency.

‘If you are suffering chest pain or any other serious medical condition, then certainly call Triple Zero. However if it is something less urgent then just think about whether a doctor, Nurse On Call, a relative or some other service is more appropriate.’

Victoria | VICSES rescue demonstration at Scienceworks

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Scienceworks current temporary exhibition Rescue focuses on the science behind the emergency service, so it was only natural that they asked SES volunteers to come along one weekend to demonstrate some rescue techniques to a live audience. 

Over two days, the team demonstrated the Vertical Z Pulley System which displayed how it’s possible to rescue people who are trapped either below or above a steep or vertical drop.  They also took part in an evacuation stretcher activity.

The activities were extremely well received by Scienceworks visitors, staff and volunteers. The SES crew were described by Scienceworks as being both extremely professional and interacting well with all the audience members.

SES will be back at Scienceworks on Thursday 2 October along with other emergency service organisations for Community Safety Day. The day will consist of displays and demonstrations with each emergency response team showcasing their safety messages. Local community members, schools, businesses and other agencies will be encourage to build community safety partnerships with their local emergency service organisations.

Rescue will be running at Scienceworks until the 5 October 2014.  For more information please visit the Scienceworks website

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VIC | All in a shift – Cops rescue orphaned joey and escaped camels

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Police at Mornington bounced into action after a kangaroo was hit and killed by a car in Tuerong last night.

The Mornington van was called to the corner of Old Mooroodoc Road and Balnarring Road and spoke to a distraught woman who struck the roo around 11.30pm.

The kangaroo died at the scene and police discovered a baby Joey inside its pouch.

The Joey was taken to the Balnarring Animal Rescue where it was established that the Joey was a four-month-old female.

She will be taken to a wildlife sanctuary.

Camels

Police at Narre Warren faced a hump in their shift after three camels escaped from the circus this morning.

The Narre Warren van was called to a service station on the Princes Highway where three runaway camels were munching on trees just before 4am.

Police were able to keep the trio off the road until their owner arrived from the circus located further up the highway.

VIC | Fire crews rescue reptiles from school classroom blaze

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CFA firefighters have rescued dozens of snakes and other reptiles from a school fire in Lilydale.

Eight trucks from Lilydale, Mooroolbark, Mt Evelyn and Bayswater were called to the Melba Avenue school shortly after midnight on Wednesday.

CFA District 13 Operations Officer Don Tomkins said crews arrived to find a portable classroom – which was housing snakes, lizards, frogs and turtles – on fire.

“There was a lot of smoke issuing from the structure so crews wore breathing apparatus during the firefight,” he said.

After extinguishing the blaze, crews discovered some of the animals had escaped their enclosures.

“Our crews helped the local school teacher to round up the reptiles but, sadly, some animals were lost during the fire.”

“We’re still not sure on how many died as a result of the blaze, but crews saved many of them and they’re now in safe keeping.”

An emergency refuge is being organised to house the remaining snakes and reptiles.

The cause is being investigated this morning, but it is not believed to be suspicious.

VIC | 2014 Fire Awareness Awards nominations now open

Every year Victorians face the challenge of living with fire, whether it is the threat of bushfire, a house fire or dealing with the effects fire can have on a business or industry.

Every year ordinary people go out of their way to protect their homes, their business their communities and the people who live in them from fire – the majority don’t think twice about doing it.

Victoria’s fire agencies and RACV are encouraging these Victorians to share their hard work and achievements by entering for the 2014 Fire Awareness Awards, with entries now open.

Every year people across the state go above and beyond to develop fire safety programs, projects, products and designs that help keep the people of Victoria safe, MFB Chief Officer Peter Rau said.

“The Fire Awareness Awards are an important way for Victoria’s fire services and RACV to acknowledge their hard work, innovation and dedication  that underpins our sense of community in both the city and country”, Mr Rau said.

Judges want to recognise projects that successfully reduce the number or impact of fires in Victoria. Successful projects can be at a local, regional or state-wide scale and can come from volunteers, community groups and professional organisations.

The awards are proudly supported by long-term sponsor RACV which in addition to hosting the awards, provides $10,000 to recognise excellence in fire safety. The fire services also provide three $2000 incentive grants to encourage further development of projects or programs.

In 2013 Firefoxes Australia won the Fire Awareness Recovery Award and one of the special incentive grants.  Firefoxes is a grassroots group which formed  in 2009 following the Black Saturday bushfires in the Kinglake Ranges. In the years since, Firefoxes has touched the lives of thousands of women, men and children in Australian communities affected by fire, flood and cyclone.

Kate Riddell, Firefoxes Australia, said the Recovery Award recognised the work of all involved  with the Woman Leading Change program over the past five years which connected local emergency services volunteers with woman in the community.

“The women and youth in our community are connected, more skilled and have a greater understanding or fire preparedness as a result of the Women Leading Change program,” she said.

“They now take a far more active role in operating pumps, getting their properties ready, formulating effective fire plans and working cooperatively with fire prevention and response agencies.”

Paul Northey, General Manager RACV Insurance, said RACV has a proud history of supporting its members and their communities in fire-affected areas.

“RACV Insurance sees firsthand the devastating impact that fire can have on peoples’ lives”, Mr Northey said.

“We are pleased to be associated with these awards which encourage groups and individuals to generate ideas and initiatives that are focussed on fire prevention, response and recovery.

“The Awards program and the Excellence Award is a fantastic opportunity to recognise the invaluable work people do to protect their homes and communities.”

Entries for the 2014 Fire Awareness Awards open from 30 June and close on 30 September 2014. Recipients will be announced at a presentation evening on 4 December.

Awards Categories:

  • Community Preparedness Award
  • Recovery Award
  • Multicultural Award
  • Youth Award
  • Aged and Disability Award
  • Education Award
  • Fire Services Award
  • Media and Communications Award
  • Industry/Service Award
  • Building/Construction Award
  • Product Design Award
  • New and Emerging Information Technologies Award

Prizes:

  • RACV Award for Excellence: $10,000
  • Special incentive grants: 3 x $2000

For more information about the 2014 Fire Awareness Awards or to apply, visit www.fireawarenessawards.com.au or email vicfireawards@mfb.vic.gov.au.

VIC | World-class emergency training centre fires up for opening day

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Victorian firefighters and emergency services workers will now have access to highly-specialised fire and emergency training facilities at a world-class $109 million centre in Craigieburn.

The Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre (VEMTC), proudly managed by MFB, was officially opened by the Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine, alongside Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Minister for Bushfire Response Kim Wells and Minister for Major Projects David Hodgett.

“The centre will enhance the sector’s ability to support a state-wide shift towards to an ‘all hazards, all emergencies’ approach to emergency management,” MFB CEO Jim Higgins said.

“This facility will provide training not only for MFB firefighters, but also for thousands of emergency services personnel from the CFA, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, DEPI and the SES,” he said.

“Training together will strengthen our skills to collaborate and enhance our ability to work together seamlessly on major emergencies in the future,” he said.

The state-of-the-art centre provides firefighters with realistic emergency scenarios tailored to Melbourne’s unique urban landscape, including laneways, rail tunnels and tram stops.

There are 12 training props on site which simulate a range of real life situations, including major fires, road accidents and other emergencies.

Fire, smoke, sound, physical barriers, and other crises, such as collapsed buildings and high-rise rescues, will also be part of the training.

The facility will be a centre for excellence in emergency management training that will help meet the needs of the Victorian community into the future.

“The centre, the first to be formally branded under the Victorian Emergency Management Training Centre banner, has been one of MFB’s most significant projects to date. We look forward to continuing to manage this centre on behalf of all Victorian emergency services into the future.”

VIC | EMV: The new face of emergency management in Victoria

Victoria’s emergency management reform journey takes a significant step forward this month with the commencement of new emergency management arrangements and the establishment of Emergency Management Victoria (EMV).

Over a number of years, Victoria’s emergency management sector has been working together to build the foundations for an emergency management system which is sustainable, effective and delivers the best possible value to the community.

As of 1 July 2014, EMV is the new overarching body for emergency management, coordinating emergency management policy and the implementation of emergency management reform. It will be responsible for coordinating emergency preparation, response and recovery in Victoria and is tasked with ensuring Victoria is fully prepared for future emergencies and able to recover more quickly from their impacts.

EMV will strengthen the way in which Victoria’s emergency management organisations train together, work to common operating standards, share the same operational picture, and use equipment and systems that work together.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services and Bushfire Response Kim Wells has welcomed the commencement of the new overarching body for emergency management in Victoria.

“The Napthine Government’s White Paper into emergency management acknowledged the need for a central organisation to lead an integrated and sustainable emergency management system in Victoria,” Minister Wells said.

“This is about moving towards an all-hazards, all-agencies approach to emergency management in Victoria.”

These changes will strengthen Victoria’s ability to build resilience within communities and increase interoperability between emergency management organisations, and represent the first major reforms to emergency management in Victoria for 30 years.

For further information, see the Emergency Management Victoria website.

Victoria | New laws protect emergency workers from attacks

Offenders who attack police officers or emergency workers while they are carrying out their duties will face tough new sentences under legislation being introduced to Parliament today (25 June).

The increased sentences will apply to offenders who attack workers including police, ambulance officers, fire-fighters, protective services officers, SES workers or lifesavers, as well as nurses, doctors or other staff in hospitals who provide or support emergency treatment.

“Those who intentionally inflict serious injuries on police or emergency workers can expect to spend at least three years behind bars, while those who recklessly inflict serious injuries can look to spend at least two years in jail,” the Premier, Denis Napthine said.

“If gross violence is involved, attackers will face a minimum of five years in jail, while those who murder a police officer or emergency worker will be subject to a baseline sentence carrying a 30 year jail term. Attacks causing other injuries will incur at least six months in jail.”

The minimum penalties will form part of the offender’s minimum non-parole period, and will apply unless the offender can demonstrate there is a genuinely ‘special reason’ in limited and carefully defined circumstances, such as co-operation with law enforcement authorities or proven mental impairment.

“Victoria is fortunate to have many dedicated police officers, front line medical personnel and other emergency workers who devote their careers or hours of unpaid voluntary time to helping others.

“These laws recognise the important role those in the front line have in serving, protecting and caring for all Victorians,” the Attorney-General, Robert Clark said.

“When police and emergency workers put themselves on the line to help others, they deserve the community’s protection and support. An attack on a police officer or emergency worker is an attack on our whole community.

“Penalties for those who engage in these attacks need to reflect the seriousness of the crime. Under our reforms those who attack and injure a police officer or emergency worker can expect to end up behind bars.

“These laws will better protect emergency workers so they can go about their duties without threats, intimidation or violence.

“Everyone deserves the right to be as safe as possible when they go to work, especially those who willingly face very dangerous situations such as those involving drug and alcohol-fuelled violence,” Mr Clark said.