The Jandakot Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade’s (JVBFB) new home is not just a shed for storing fire trucks but a high-tech training and communications hub for volunteers in Cockburn’s rural east.
The new $1.1m+ facility includes a communications room to track volunteers’ locations during deployment, plus an incident management station equipped with a Western Australian Emergency Radio Network (WAERN) base station.
And in a first for WA, the station is surrounded by a Firewise native garden designed to increase its protection against bushfire, and inaugural workshops to share this knowledge with the community are planned for the coming winter.
The new 625sqm facility replaces a 1988-built 15mx15m farm shed, enabling the 53-year-old brigade to securely store its 12.2 litre Bulk Water Tanker, a 3.4 litre Urban Tanker, a light tanker plus support vehicle and trailers in a purpose built 225sqm bay.
Funding for the Banjup facility on the corner of Liddelow and Oxley roads, includes $570,000 from the Department of Fire and Emergency Services and the remainder contributed by the City of Cockburn.
New IT equipment in a dedicated communications room records and monitors volunteers once deployed and volunteers and DFES officers can manage bushfires and other incidents via the WAERN base station.
A dedicated cleaning station and mud rooms allow volunteers to change out of ash and dust-caked uniforms prior to entering the office and training areas of the station, a much-needed resource located close to areas at heightened areas of bushfire risk.
Rangers and Community Safety Manager Michael Emery said the new facility increased bushfire response capability by offering a more secure space to store today’s modern and larger fire appliances.
“The fire resilient garden also offers a unique and practical learning environment for the community to see real ways to protect and defend their homes from the threat of bushfires,” Mr Emery said.
“The plants are natives that do not build up high fuel loads, or release large amounts of volatile organic compounds, so are naturally resilient to heat from fire, limiting their ability to burn and create additional embers that could endanger the station.
“With the growth of a younger and diverse generation of volunteer fireys, the new station will provide a safe and modern learning environment with practical spaces to ensure they are not only the best equipped, but the best trained.”
Jandakot VBFB Captain Jarrad Fowler said the facility would be utilised by current and future membership for the next 30 to 40 years and continue to be a focal point for the Banjup community.
He said it was critical the Brigade provided members with quality training and the ability to adapt to changed environments.
“In the last six months alone, there has been an increase in activities for Jandakot members attending many incidents in the metro area, but also deploying members intrastate to Broome, Balladonia and the Stirling Range National Park,” Capt. Fowler said.
“We’ve also sent multiple crews over to Queensland and New South Wales to assist with emergencies over there.
“This education and training doesn’t stop just with our members. The installation of the first Firewise garden to a fire station is an exciting addition that we are looking forward to sharing with the Banjup Community and the greater City of Cockburn.”