CFA training in Stanhope heats up

By Ivy Jensen

TWO Echuca firefighters got a lesson in fighting an intense house fire on the weekend.

Echuca Fire Brigade’s Daniel Moylan and Justin Wills, along with 12 members from Stanhope Fire Brigade and eight from Girgarre, took part in Sunday’s training exercise organised by Stanhope CFA.

A couple donated its derelict empty house on Hill Rd in Stanhope for the exercise which involved setting it alight.

Stanhope Fire Brigade captain Chris Dent said the main focus was to show members how quickly a fire could develop.

"The house took about 13 minutes from initial lighting, until structural collapse of the roof," he said.

"It's a timely reminder to everyone of how important smoke detectors are in homes."

Daniel and Justin used Echuca's new support vehicle, and helped with breathing apparatus (BA) cylinders, a BA control point and acted as an incident control point.

"Some of the areas focused on during the exercise were identifying fuel and ventilation fires, forcible entry, identifying how and when a flashover can occur, using thermal imaging cameras and gas cooling techniques," Chris said.

"Forcible entry was a big focus as it's something we don't get many opportunities to practice.

"Our volunteers were able to have a go, practice their techniques and all benefited from the training.

"Everyone was so keen to be a part of the opportunity. We made the exercise as practical as possible and had lots of younger members get involved, which was great for the development of their situational awareness."

Stanhope Fire Brigade members spent countless hours preparing for the exercise, the process taking about 18 months from application to exercise.

"It was an extremely controlled environment, so members could use it to learn," Chris said.