Warrnambool fire station will get 10 extra firefighters and a new truck to help with rescues by the end of the year.
This is on top of the five new recruits that have started work at the Mortlake Road fire station in the past couple of weeks after recently graduating.
The Mortlake Road fire station is also being extended to help accommodate its growing staff numbers.
Work is underway on four new dormitories, and the office, kitchen, gym and car park are also being extended.
Acting officer in charge of Warrnambol fire station Robert Howell said the transporter – with a technical rescue pod on the back – arrived at the station in the past month but was not expected to be in use until the end of the year. “Basically it’s a truck with a hook on it that can drop the pod on the ground and inside the pod it’s full of equipment for doing technical rescue, so things like rope rescue, confined space rescue, trench rescue,” Mr Howell said. He said there had been a big increase in the number of rope rescues and high or steep-angle rescues between Warrnambool and the Grampains.
“We support up into the Grampians and assist the brigades and SES up there as part of a joint response,” Mr Howell said.
The transporter is still undergoing a number of checks and staff will have to be employed and trained before it goes into operation.
“We can still perform all of those technical-rescue-type roles at an incident, but we just do it in a different manner and this will just bring it all together into one and make it more efficient and expedient,” Mr Howell said.
Five new leading firefighters and five firefighters will be employed by the end of the year to help man the new truck, adding an extra two staff to each shift
“The minimum manning per shift currently is six, that will then go to eight,” Mr Howell said. He said the new truck would also be used to help the State Emergency Service respond to rescues.
“There will be joint training,” he said.
“It’s good for the community. It’s good for the district. It’s going to be able to support other agencies and increase community safety which is what we are here to do.”
The new truck and staff are part of a state government promise to boost firefighter numbers across the state.