April Again!

April this year begins and ends with a Games Night, but we haven't quite had our second one yet! The first Games Night, early in the month, was for kids, both little kids and big kids, and a lot of fun was had.

Andrew playing a game of Tsuro with Sky, Jade, Chloe and Niamh.

games1

Angus and Max having a serious game of Battleship.

games2

This was a very uproarious game of Uno at times.  The players and numbers of players seemed to change a lot through the course of the evening and lots of laughter was heard.

games 3

Jenga was popular too!

jenga

We attended one call-out to a fire on Wellbucket Road, well out into the forest in a pine plantation area.  With the smoke and the slanting sun, the scene was quite surreal at times.  This is Andy and Phil blacking out.

welbucket1

It was Phil's first turnout to a bushfire and he did great.  Well done Phil!

wellbucket 2

Andrew and Phil doing the black-out ballet...

dance

Last week we took the 1.4 along to give the lovely people of the Darling Range Communications  Brigade an idea of how a burnover situation might look at the other end of the radio.  Angus, Jen and Andy did a great job of demoing.

demo1

demo2

While Andrew did an equally good job of talking the activity through for the viewers.

demo2

We have had some good training sessions, both fun and educational.  Sister team, Jen and Tina, had a bit too much fun here, we think!

jen and tina

This is Ziana on the monitor as we test what sort of pressures we can make using different configurations between vehicles and the hydrant.

ziana

Murray and Pierre were our Light Tanker pilots for that one.  Looking good, guys!

train1

Michelle looking glamorous AND paracticing her crew leader skills!   How does she do that?

michelle

Plenty of good work went into maintaining the station and vehicles.

fix

And we did one HRB at a member's property where new members, Father and Daughter team, Ben and Ziana, got 'sooted' for the first time.  Well done!  They are halfway through their basic training course too.  One more weekend of training to go and some more HRBs and they'll be all kitted out and trained, ready to hit the fireground come next season.

ben and zee

Once again the smoke and sun made for some lovely scenes.

smoke 1

smoke 2

The weather is remaining dry and warm, making fuels extra flammable.  This is the mini fire tornado that came from a relatively small amount of fuel at our HRB. 

flames

With permit season now on, please be very careful to exercise your good sense when you light up, and be sure to follow the local rules.  In Mundaring, without a permit, you can have ONE 1x1 metre fire at a time, lit after 6pm and put out by 11pm.  For permit burns, be very careful to follow all of those guidelines on the front and back of the paper.  Special rules apply if you want to do your verges, so do check with the Mundaring Shire about those. Remember your poor neighbours' lungs and washing when looking at wind directions, and make sure all is blacked out fully before going off to bed, so you don't get a visit from us or another Brigade at 2am because your burn got away!

party 10

See you in May!

Many thanks to the people who sent us great photos to use this month:  Andy, Phil, Michelle, Tina and Andrew.

 

 

Marching into March!

Well, what a busy March/end of February! 

We had a few call-outs but luckily none were large events.   There were calls to night fires, one of which was indeed a bushfire.

night fire

There were calls by day too.  Here are Jenny and the team heading out to a bushfire that was put out with quick work from our brigade and others.  We had so many people turn out that three people, all ready to go, had to stay behind to wave the trucks goodbye.  How great is that for a small brigade?  It doesn't always happen, though, so don't think we don't need you if you were thinking of joining!

jen 

This was a call to a bus on fire that was out by the time we arrived.

bus

Another night call was to a person who had lit a barbecue fire because it was 'cold'.  Nope, that is not how fire ban season works.  Please leave lighting up until it is legal.  Next month begins permit time when you can have 1 x 1 metre fire after 6 pm, or other burns with a permit, and in June, when permit season ends, you will be able to light everything permit free, even bonfires!   As the above photos show, there is a reason why the fire ban is still on, even if it does seem unseasonably cool.  You don't want us lot arriving at your campfire with lights and sirens going... and even more importantly, you don't want to start a bushfire!

nightfire

March also saw the Shire of Mundaring run their popular Combined Brigades thankyou night.   We really do get very spoiled!  We can't say we did any better in the tug 'o' war than usual, but we had fun. Many thanks to our intrepid team of Murray, Craig, Phil, Jenny, Ben and Pierre!  Congratulations to Mt Helena Brigade who won for the fourth year running.  Come on, what's your secret?  Do you guys put glue on your feet or what?  Our lot were slipping on the grass all over the place!

tug

After the competition, the kids got to have fun with the rope.

kids

Then it was time for dinner and music.  It was a glorious evening too, with the sky turning on a special show for us.

sky

sky 2

Everyone had a good time. 

crowd

crowd2

We have kept up the training well this month, too.

There was a visit to one of firegrounds from this month to discuss the way the fire acted. 

beeliu

We had a interesting class lesson from Adrian on the two appliances and the best way to use the hoses and waterpoints.

We did work on correct hose use.

hose

Zianaonhose

And there were plenty of trips out and about. Here are Andy, Rob and Ziana in the back, with Pierre driving and Ben out of sight in the front seat.

ziana

Phil and Nick take out the Light Tanker.

Phil and Nick

Murray did his Structural course last weekend too. Well done, Murray!  We hear you had a bit of fun as well as lot of learning!  

The appliances got some extra love and care last week from Andy, Ben and Angus.

clean

The station got a lovely clean too.  Check out this spick and span engine bay! 

bay

That photo was taken while we were hosting Stoneville Brigade to a pre-Saturday Schedules brekky.  It was a really successful event, with a lot of laughter and chat and delicious food.  The old Austin was much admired, especially when Charles got the siren going! We have been told we will soon be invited the other way, perhaps for a combined training exercise.   Sounds good to us!

Jeff and Andrew comparing colourful braces.       

Andrew & Jeff

  Jeff and Angus share a joke.

Angus & Jeff 

The amazing Jen, caterer extraordinaire, with her two Stoneville helpers, Laureen and Lynette. 

Jen

 Lots of eating and chatting!

bbq 

Our brave BBQers, L to R, are Nick, Pierre, Rob and Ben.

crew

So, all in all, it has been a very busy month.  What will next month bring?  Check back and we'll tell you!

One thing we do have coming up early in April is an information evening for prospective new members, so if you've been thinking about taking the plunge, now would be a fantastic time! 

Fantastic pics this month were taken by Greg from Stoneville Brigade (thanks Greg!) Michelle andTina.  Special thanks to Michelle who is so great at remembering to take photos and send them to the reporter! 

February? Where Did Summer Go?

Well, what an odd month we have had.  The odd 40C day, all mixed up with chilly days with rain!

Through it all, the Brigade has kept right on training and being ready to turn out at a moment's notice, day or night.

lt

We have attended a few fires this month, including a late night call to a bushfire on Gorrie Rd.

night

There wasn't room for the bigger appliances to get to the fire, so the Sawyers 1.4 crew got to have a bit of down time waiting to see if they would be useful later.

Gogs and Paul in the 1.4. fhen

Paul trying for some beauty sleep.

paul

This month, we got the good old Austin fixed up and running again!

austin

While we had her on the move, we had a huge clean-up of the station and moved our vehicles around in the bays.  Now we have an empty bay at one end where we can use the whiteboard for training and drink cuppas at the same time!

The new configuration:station

We attended the first ever Mundaring Twilight Markets.  Many Brigades were there and we had as much fun talking to Fireys from other Brigades as we did chatting to the locals.

market

Check out that beautiful sky!  Many thanks to our mates at Mundaring VFRS for this photo. 

We were lucky enough that night to have Ben the BFG (Big Friendly Giant) and his daughter, Ziana, agree to join up, and we just want to say a big hello and thank you to you both!  You are a lovely family and we look forward to having you as part of our team, and we know your community will be very proud of you too.   We'll get a photo of Ben when we can find PPE giant enough to fit him, but here is Ziana looking a bit swamped by hers.   We have the opposite problem with fitting her!

ziana

Ziana has also joined the Mundaring VFRS Cadets, so we know she will soon be more knowledgeable than us!   They do a great job there, so if you have a teen 13 to 16 who wants to do some volunteer work in a great team, get in touch.     

Training this month has been very varied.  This is Andrew crewleading the team of Mirline and Andy, who are putting out a fire in an industrial area (the station in reality).

andrew mirline andy

Question: How many fireys does it take to fix a troublesome rolladoor?

doors

Answer:  How many have you got?  :D  

This past weekend we attended two fire call-outs in one day.  The first was to a bushfire in Beechina. The helitacs were in welcome attendance, even when one managed to overspray our 1.4 crew.  In 40C heat, it was not entirely unwelcome. helitac

The second call that day was to a bus on fire near the Mundaring Weir Hotel, which was fortunately out on our arrival.  Great work to our little brigade to turn out teams for both events on such a hot day. 

Next month we have the fun and socialising of the Shire's Firey's Picnic and Tug-O-War.  We haven't started training yet, and we promise that's not why we recruited our new BFG, Ben, but we will surely be glad of him on the night!

If you've ever thought of joining, now is a great time, because training at Mundaring Fire School will be starting next month and you will be sure to be fully trained and kitted out ready for next year's fire season.  Come in one Saturday morning.  We are welcoming and friendly and will be very happy to meet you!  You will learn a lot, achieve a lot, and do so in the company of a great bunch of people!

andy and angus

Andy and Angus, still smiling after a job well done on the fireground. 

Fantastic photos this month were taken by Mundaring VFRS, Michelle, Jenny, Tina, Gogs and Andrew.              

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fire-Free January

January was almost fire-free.  The local area has had its lowest number of call-outs in eight years.  Excellent!  We did have one call to a false alarm on the morning of Australia Day.   Here are Drew, Andy and Murray in the back of the 1.4 heading out.  Since the day was over 40C, they were very glad to be able to turn around and come home again when no fire was found.

callout

We are of, course, very happy about the lack of local fires.  We have been very lucky so far this summer.  In the meantime, we have kept up our training, and if and when one happens and we get the call, we'll be ready whether the fire is near or far.

Our training this month has been really valuable and interesting.  We have been into the meeting room to learn all about the new Automatic Vehicle Locator (AVL) that will help to keep us safe in future.  It was good to see all the turnout shirts lined up in the classroom!

shirts

After that it was time to head out onto the tracks and make sure the AVL could handle tough terrain without going off.  Mirline did a great job of negotiating some rough parts of the powerline trail.  This was her first ever drive of the 1.4 and she did great!  (So did the AVL!)

mirline

She said her crew in the back, and Andrew sitting beside her, were fantastic companions. They encouraged and advised her, but never made her feel like she couldn't do the job.  Way to go team! 

Here are three of the back seat crew; Andy, Murray and Warren.  Murray and Warren seem to have got such a shaking that their PPE jackets have fallen off!

shaky

Here is a view of the 1.4 on the trail, taken from the Light Tanker.

14

On another Saturday, we did a training exercise where we had to work in pairs to back the vehicles around an obstacle course, first using only hand signals and then only a radio, while we had pumps and radios going full blast, just as they would be on the fireground.

Here is Jen O sending Pierre backwards.

jen

Here is Pierre taking his turn at directing Jen O backwards between the fence and witches hats.

pierre

Last Saturday, as the station sweltered under a baking hot, humid sun...

sky

...we did an interesting exercise.  We practiced responding to all the changing conditions on a fireground.  Everything from hop-over fires to collapsing crew members was suddenly brought to the attention of the crews, and they reacted admirably.  We all agreed it was a great exercise, and there are plenty more scenarios for us to try, so we'll be having another go at this activity soon.   We want to be ready for anything!

exercise 1

exercise 2

We also gave the LT and 1.4 a very thorough going over.   The station has been a cheerful hive of activity every Saturday, and cup of tea time is always a jolly affair.                     

The 1.4's spare tyre gets a pressure check and top up from Jen and Rob.

tyre

Then the hoses get a good clean from Mirline, Gogs and Angus.

hoses

All sorts of things going on here!

lots

It is just wonderful to see everyone working together towards our common goal of keeping our community safe, and we get to have all sorts of fun, challenges and learning as a bonus.  What a great bunch of people!  Good work everyone!

Fantastic photos this month were taken by Murray, Michelle, Gogs, Andrew and Tina.  Don't forget to send Tina any photographs you would like to see in the news.

December Has Whizzed By.

We hope you had a lovely Christmas Time and since this post is being written on New Year's day, we also wish you a safe, prosperous and joy-filled 2017!  

Amazingly, we have had a December almost free of call-outs, which is great news for our local area.  We had a fire in the State Forest early in the month but it was soon sorted, and another call-out early in December where there proved to be no fire at all.   Our favorite sort of call!  There have been plenty of fires further afield, so everyone certainly needs to keep their wits about them and stay fire-safe, but so far so good.  Many of the fires around Perth seem to be being lit by cigarettes thrown out of cars into mulch or foliage on the sides of roads so please remember to keep your cigarette butts in your car.  They are not biodegradeable, and dangerous to wildlife as well, so it is a win/win situation all around if you look after your butts responsibly.

Even though it has been a lovely safe December for us, we have kept our skills, vehicles and station primed to go.  This month a large group of our Firefighters took part in a Rural Urban Interface Exercise where they went and examined a property as if they'd been assigned to protect it from an approaching fire.   Here they are getting ready at the site.

rui

Both the appliances received a loving hand wash, cut and polish from members this month and look very smart indeed now. 

polish

Schedules have been kept busy with plenty of bustling about keeping everything ready to go.

fuel

Our fundraising team ended a fantastic year by getting together the money for a heavy duty leaf blower to help us quickly blow firebreaks clean.  What a team!  They are on well-earned holidays now until next off-season.  Here is Gogs wielding a similar leaf blower.  Our own one is unchristened as yet!

leaf

Many thanks to Eastern Hills Saws & Mowers for giving us such a great deal on the price and to the Capricorn Society for giving us a $250 grant to get us over the line.   We feel very lucky to have so many generous supporters for our Brigade!

We also had a very kind donation from the Sawyers Valley Christian Fellowship, who happen to be our neighbours.  They gave us two hampers that they wanted to be given to two Brigade members to thank us for our care of them.  Vicki very fairly put all our names into a hat and got her own neighbours to drew out two names, and the winners were Elton and Michelle, and Dave and Heather, who both have young families, so that was a lovely outcome and they were very pleased.

hamper

Of course December is also time for Christmas Parties.  We traditionally have ours just after Christmas, and that was the case this year.  It is hard to capture an event like this with photos, so we're sorry if you came and we missed getting you into a picture, but it was a really lovely night.  There was plenty of laughter, chat and warmth.  The older children, nine from memory, had a great time playing, and we were all handsomely fed and "watered".

party1

Our adorable collection of "Smallest Fireys of All, " has also grown by one since last year!

littles

On the night, three members were given their awards for long service to the Brigade:  Keith Woodley for 25 years service (Yay Keith!) Adrian Woodley for ten years service (Way to go Adrian!) and Angus Hay for Five years service (Woo hoo Angus!)

Speaking of long service, our wonderful Secretary, Vicki, will be stepping down at the AGM in May, so if you feel called to serve your local community, have good organisational skills, and are willing to be, or already, a member of the Brigade, then we have a job for you!  If you step up as an assistant now, lovely Vicki can teach you the job in the next five months and you will be able to start out in May in full confidence.  Don't be shy!  This is truly pivotal role in the Brigade, and it means you get to know everyone and everything that is going on.  If you think you can't be of great value in a Brigade unless you spend time on the fireground, you couldn't be more wrong, and this job proves it!        

We'll end this news by showing some more pictures of the party.  As our President, Keith, said afterwards, "We’re a terrific family of friends!"

Angus, Pierre and Nick share a joke.  party 4

Max, Taz, Mirline and Murray being thoughtful.party3

Lynne chats to Charles and Anne, who are on her right, while Elton and Jez talk behind her.party2

Ren, Rob, Phil, Janet, Warren and Andrew form an interesting tableau. party6

Graeme, Charles and Angus passing wisdom. prty 7

Horse talk here for Tina, Delphine and Jenny.  party 8

 Ryan, Ebony and Indy having fun but being good too, as all the kids were!party 10

Pierre, making sure his small plate means he doesn't have too much of the delicious dessert!party 11

 There was a lot of hugging!party 12

Many thanks to John and Vicki Lorantas for all their hard work in getting the party organised and set up, to the hard working BBQers, ably led by Allan, and to everyone who brought delicious salads and desserts to tempt us with.  It was a fun night.  We are hoping to have even more social events in the coming year, and we want to keep them interesting and varied, so if you have an idea for one, whatever that idea might be, big or small, let us know and let's make it happen!

 

Photographs this month were provided by an intrepid band of skilled photographers, namely Adrian, Nikki, Gogs, and Tina.          

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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