Road toll double what it was this time last year

By Benalla Ensign

The CFA is asking Benalla’s drivers to be careful on the road and to take measures to ensure they arrive at their destination safely.

It is not all about firefighting for CFA — its firefighters respond to motor vehicle accidents regularly.

To mark last week’s National Road Safety Week, the CFA has released figures showing that in the 12 months to April 30, CFA responded to 4918 accidents.

CFA acting chief officer Gavin Freeman said that equated to about half the amount of fires CFA respond to, which showed the vital role its volunteer and career firefighters played in different types of emergencies.

‘‘Already this year in Victoria we’ve seen 115 lives lost on our roads,’’ Mr Freeman said.

‘‘Not only is that 115 too many – it’s more than double the lives lost in the same time last year.

‘‘Many of these accidents could have been avoided. Driver fatigue, speed and distractions often cause accidents — these are all preventable.

‘‘Losing loved ones on our roads affects everyone, family, friends but also our first responders who include our CFA staff and volunteers.

‘‘Road safety is every Victorian’s responsibility, especially if we are to work towards zero lives lost on our roads.’’

CFA’s support of National Road Safety Week includes initiatives, such as turning its Ballarat Fire Station Tower yellow to help ‘‘Shine a Light on Road Safety’’.

But Mr Freeman said road safety was always on the mind of CFA members.

‘‘We are no longer just a firefighting authority,’’ he said.

‘‘We provide emergency medical response, we respond to HAZMAT and we respond to motor vehicle collisions.

‘‘We’re always working on initiatives to improve our response to accidents.

‘‘CFA recently launched a brand new dedicated Road Crash Rescue Support Training Facility, which will provide industry leading training to all CFA career firefighters over the next two years.

‘‘The facility provides road rescue support training that gives firefighters the ability to respond to all kinds of vehicle accidents, a major boost to their capability supporting Victorian communities.

‘‘No firefighter wants to have to rescue you from your vehicle, but you can rest easy knowing our crews are being skilled with the best possible training in case we have to.’’