MINUTES and seconds matter when it comes to firefighting — although volunteers usually don’t have a stopwatch to contend with.
More than 140 people will converge on Yambuk this weekend for the Voluntary Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) regional championships, all competing for a place in the state finals.
VFBV district president Stanley Ross said the event was an opportunity for volunteers to fine-tune their skills during the off-season.
He said eye-hand co-ordination, speed and agility were all necessary attributes in delivering a winning edge.
“It’s a series of different categories which all form what you need to be a top firefighter,” Mr Ross said. “We’ve still got the low-down pump which we’ve used for years and is the basic way of draughting water to fight fires. Simple things like joining hoses together as quick as you can, striking targets from a safe distance — all those skills are needed when you’re at a house fire or a bushfire and time is against you.”
Twenty-eight teams of five people each are registered for the Yambuk event with several expected to head off to state championships at the Geelong Showgrounds on April 5-6. Brigades from Woodford, Willaura and Irrewarra have already signed up for the statewide competition.
Mr Ross said numerous small fires and the recent Latrobe Valley coal fire had resulted in a smaller number of competitors taking part in this year’s regional finals.
The free admission event will be held at the Yambuk Recreation Reserve tomorrow from 9.30am with the official opening at 12.15pm.