Category Archives: Victoria

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.

Victoria | SES crews respond to severe weather-related calls

Photo courtesy of Victoria SES, Sunbury Unit
Photo courtesy of Victoria SES, Sunbury Unit

Victoria experienced a wild and windy day yesterday following a severe weather warning that was issued from the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) for damaging and destructive winds.

The destructive weather began in Warrnambool early Tuesday morning before traveling across the state.  Over 24 hours, SES received 3200 calls for assistance with the peak occurring around midday on Tuesday as the winds hit Greater Metropolitan Melbourne. As of Wednesday morning, there were still around 300 jobs outstanding.

The majority of calls to SES were to assist with trees down and building damage.  These report included roof damage, fallen trees on roads, houses and cars and quite a few reports of unsecured items such as trampolines and garden sheds becoming flying projectiles.

Taskforces from across the state have teamed up to help the Melbourne crews clean up after the wild day. These teams included member from SES, Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Department of Primary Industries (DEPI).

Storm surge was also an issue for coastal areas as strong winds and large waves making beaches unpredictable and unsafe. SES advises that coastal areas and riverbanks should still be approached with caution. Boardwalks and paths could be washed out, sandy areas may be eroded and piers and jetties should be avoided until assessment and further advice.

A second severe weather event is expected to hit Victoria on Friday. SES recommends home owners prepare by securing outdoor items, parking under shelter and staying up to date with current conditions by visiting the BoM’s warning page.

For SES assistance, call 132 500. For life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000).

Victoria | Wild weather keeps paramedics busy

Wild weather across Victoria has kept paramedics busy attending car accidents, trees onto vehicles, and a wall collapse.

Up until midday Ambulance Victoria paramedics responded to 691 emergency calls. That’s almost 100 more than the same period last Tuesday.

Paramedics were called to 12 car accidents across the state this morning, including one in Truganina in which vehicles were spread over 200 metres.

Ambulance Victoria Regional Manager Tess Tuohey urges people to take care in the wild weather.

‘The weather has had a big impact on the type of cases paramedics have been called to,’ Ms Tuohey said.

‘As well as car accidents we’ve been called to a woman injured in a wall collapse in Yarraville, a woman struck by roof sheeting in the CBD, and a couple of cases where trees have come down across cars, injuring drivers.

‘We had an extra five ambulances rostered on last night and an extra five across the state on day shift today.

‘Given the 15 per cent increase in emergency calls today, we’d urge people with non-urgent medical conditions to consider other alternatives like visiting their GP.

‘It’s also important for people to take care on the roads, and be mindful of the potential for trees to come down across the road,’ Ms Tuohey said.

Among the weather related calls:

• A woman hit by a brick wall that collapsed in Yarraville. She was taken to Western Hospital Footscray in a stable condition

• A woman aged in her 40s showered with glass when a tree fell on to her car as she was driving in Farm Road at Werribee. She was taken to Werribee Mercy hospital in a stable condition

• A man who was unable to stop when a tree suddenly fell across the Ballarat-Maryborough Road at Clunes. He was taken to Ballarat Hospital in a stable condition.

• A woman aged in her 30s struck by plastic roof sheeting in A’Beckett Street in Melbourne who didn’t require ambulance treatment

Victoria | Marathon rescue effort in Alpine National Park

Paramedics were involved in a 21-hour operation to rescue two men after their car crashed 120 metres down an embankment in the Alpine National Park on Saturday.

The two men were part of a larger group on a four wheel drive trip to McAlister’s River.

Bairnsdale paramedic team manager Dave Jones said the men were hurt when their car crashed over the edge of the Blue Plains Spur Track at about 4.30pm on Saturday.

‘Unfortunately the men didn’t have a satellite phone or EPIRB so couldn’t get help straightaway,’ Mr Jones said.

‘Others in the four wheel drive group started looking for the men, which took three hours. They were eventually able to make contact on a UHF radio.

‘Some of the group made their way down to the injured men, taking blankets, warm clothing and other supplies. They’ve done a great job to look after their mates and contact emergency services.

‘Due to weather we couldn’t get Air Ambulance helicopters into the area so paramedics from Lakes Entrance and Ambulance Community Officers from Woods Point and Heyfield were sent to the scene. It took six hours to make their way into the remote location in a four wheel drive ambulance.

‘MICA Paramedic Greg Graham and Ambulance Community Officer Helen (Dinny) Kube are both experienced climbers and were able to make their way down to the injured men to treat them.

‘They continued to treat the men until two Air Ambulance helicopters arrived on Sunday morning to winch the men from the bush.

‘A man aged in his 30s was taken to Latrobe Valley Regional Hospital and a man in his 40s was flown to The Alfred hospital suffering a hip injury. They are incredibly lucky not to have suffered more serious injuries.

Victoria | Suspected contamination of “Provive” Propofol

  • This is an update to the Chief Health Officer alert dated 2 May 2014 for Suspected contamination of “Provive” Propofol.
  • A number of people across Australia have developed septicaemia due to Ralstonia species with a common link of having been administered Provive propofol in April 2014.
  • Further investigations are being undertaken by the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to determine the cause of sepsis and the strength of evidence linking propofol products with reported cases.
  • The TGA recommendation to quarantine the two suspect batches of propofol remains. At this time, no batches of any of the drugs listed below are subject to a recall.
  • Hospitals should quarantine stock of Provive and Sandoz propofol products and continue to seek alternatives to Provive and Sandoz propofol products until further notice.
  • Maintain a high index of suspicion in all febrile patients following intravenous sedation or anaesthesia.
  • Report any potential cases of sepsis following administration of Provive propofol to the TGA and the Department of Health.

What is the issue?

Ralstonia pickettii is a rare infection. It is a gram negative organism that has been linked in the past to contamination of medical therapeutic agents.

Concern was raised when this organism was identified in three South Australian patients who had procedures in April 2014. The only common exposure was the administration of Provive propofol during their procedures.

Five cases of septicaemia due to Ralstonia species where Provive propofol was also administered were subsequently identified in Queensland (4) and Victoria (1). Additional cases of septicaemia due to Ralstonia species have also been identified where there was no link to propofol administration.

The TGA is working with State and Territory health departments to gather further information regarding the reported cases of sepsis and to identify the specific organism(s) suspected of causing the infection.

In particular, the TGA is investigating the strength of the evidence linking these propofol products with the reported cases of sepsis.

As part of these investigations, the TGA is testing samples of the suspect batches for microbial quality. This testing includes performing sterility and bacterial endotoxin tests on the products. Results from the sterility testing will not be available for 2-3 weeks due to the prolonged incubation period for this test and the nature of the product.

The TGA is also carefully examining the manufacturing site data to identify relevant information.

Who is at risk?

All patients undergoing anaesthesia or sedation involving the suspected batches of propofol are potentially at risk.

Symptoms

Affected persons have developed rapid onset of fever and signs of septicaemia following  medical procedures involving the suspected batches of Propofol. Some have required admission to intensive care.

Prevention/treatment

Medical practitioners should avoid using the following batches of propofol:  Provive MCT-LCT 1%  20 ml vials, batches A030906 Exp. 08/15, and A030907 Exp. 08/15 because of the potential risk of septicaemia.

As a precaution it is recommended that all practitioners avoid using all Provive propofol products. Because the same manufacturer and supplier are used by Sandoz, clinicians should also avoid the use of Sandoz propofol products. Hospitals should seek alternatives to these brands.

Sandoz and Provive propofol products should only be used where there is no suitable alternative and consideration is given to the benefit relative to the risk to the patient.

Hospitals and other treatment facilities should check their stocks of propofol for the identified products and quarantine these immediately.

Maintain a high index of suspicion in all febrile patients following intravenous sedation or anaesthesia.

For any suspected case, consider the following actions:

  • Take blood cultures
  • Check whether there was an exposure to a product of concern
  • Seek advice from an Infectious Diseases Physician

If you become aware of any potential cases of sepsis following administration of Provive propofol

  • contact the TGA at: adr.reports@tga.gov.au  or on 1800 044 114
  • notify suspected cases immediately to the Communicable Disease Prevention and Control section at the Department of Health on 1300 651 160.

More information

Thereapeutic Goods Administration (TGA)

Victoria | Pedestrian dies after collision with MFB truck in Coburg

A man has died in hospital this evening following a collision in Coburg this morning.

It is believed an MFB truck was travelling north along Nicholson Street and turned right into Moreland Road when it struck the man just before 10am.

The 77-year-old West Preston man received life-threatening injuries and was taken to the Royal Melbourne Hospital where he passed away this evening.

The circumstances of the accident have not yet been determined, however the fire truck was not responding to an emergency incident. The driver of the truck is assisting police with their enquiries.

Police are still hoping to speak to a female medic that stopped at the scene to assist the man but left the scene before police arrival. Investigators are also keen to speak to anyone that may have witnessed the collision.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit www.crimestoppers.com.au.