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.


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!


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!)


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!


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


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.


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


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


...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.


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


All sorts of things going on here!


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.


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


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


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!


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.


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".


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


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.          












Merry Christmas!


A November to Remember!

Well, what a busy month. 

Firstly, we did so many Hazard Reduction burns that I've lost count!  Some were done on private land for residents, some were done in concert with other brigades, and some we went to when the Shire asked for extra helpers to do burns on Shire land.  The work rate and dedication of our members to turn out time after time for these burns has been absolutely amazing.  Many thanks to you all!

Here is Mirline with the new hose from the Light Tanker.


Here is a great night scene taken by Gogs.


Here are the aliens invading (actually it is Michelle, Jenny and Tina walking up the road back to the 1.4 at a HRB!)

Here are some cracking good smoky sunset shots that Michelle got of Drew and Mirline.



In training news, we had five members complete the Structural Course at the Mundaring Fire School.  Andy, Elton, Andrew, Craig and Jenny found it a fascinating course and well worth the time and effort.

Here's Craig tackling the Fire Extinguisher under MFS Instructor Ricky's watchful eye.


Husband and wife team, Jen and Craig, tackle the way to open the door into a possibly burning structure, with Andy at the door and MFS Instructor Phil looking on. 


We also had a fun morning doing a map and GPS navigation exercise that saw the two teams in appliances heading out to find the 'prizes' that Captain John had hidden for us earlier, using only Eastings and Northings.  Here is Jenny, our driver of the morning, checking the GPS.


And here are our very focused map readers, Rob, Mirline and Elton, in the back seat.  Don't be misled by their serious faces, there was lots of cheering when we found the prizes!


We have also turned out to some fires as well, but luckily so far nothing too dramatic.  Here is the 1.4 team this morning getting ready to head out for a fire that turned out to be fairly quickly vanquished, thank goodness.


Just to show how versatile we are, this month we turned our hands to food preparation as well, and fed a multitude of people at an auction.  


It was a punishingly hot day, so special mention must go to those troopers who put in long hours at the BBQs; Colin, Pierre, Captain John, Nick and I'm not sure who else because I went home (piker!) but anyway you were all wonderful and so was everyone else who came along to help.  Not content with being a great Treasurer for the Brigade,  Jen Gardiner did an amazing job of organising and managing the huge day.  We love you, Jen!  Here are some of the happy "Fireys Cafe" team.


We have a new member, a very very welcome one.  Nick has been a Firey up North and is fully qualified already.  He has fit into the Brigade in no time at all, and has already been to some HRBs, a fire call-out, and even wielded the tongs at our auction fundraiser.  That's him on the left side there.  He's obviously a person who can handle heat of all kinds even a BBQ on a sweltering day.

bbq2 Welcome, Nick!

We also had a lovely social event or two, including a lunchtime BBQ after Schedules that saw members of the on-roster Mundaring VFRS team come to join us.  Thanks for your great company, guys.   See you on the fireground!VFRS

Our other Nick, Keith, Angus and Captain John all took turns being available to write many permits to burn for residents in the last two months. It is a routine job that must be very hard on the patience but they do it Saturday after Saturday.   Good on you, guys!     

The temperatures of the last few days have put paid to any chance of further permit burns this year, and the Prohibited Burning Period begins on the 1st of December anyway, so please save your garden waste till next winter, or even better, take it to the tip for free so it can be turned into mulch.  Summer is well and truly here, even though it isn't official until Thursday. 

Have a wonderful and safe Christmas, and remember to put your cigarettes out only in an ashtray, and to keep your eyes peeled for people acting suspiciously.  We would all love a fire-free December and holiday period, especially all the many thousands of dedicated Emergency Services Volunteers and Workers who would prefer to be at home with their loved ones.

It is impossible to get everyone together at the same time, so here are just some of the many wonderful people who will make up the Sawyers Valley Brigade team heading into this year's Fire Season.  We appreciate you all, every one of you, both those in the photo and out of it! team 

Many thanks to Michelle, Gogs, Tina, and Andrew for the great photos and to everyone who sent in photos this month.  I had so many I had to pick only some, and tried to choose ones that showed as many different people as possible. Don't forget, if you want to see a photo in the news, send it to me!  





Auction Next Saturday

On Saturday the 26th of November, our Brigade will be catering for this Sale being held by one of our members. 

There is all sorts of interesting gear going under the hammer, as you can see from the flyer below.


Come along and have a look and maybe a bid, and while you are there, buy some tasty food or cold drinks from our cheerful Brigade members.

Please don't try to buy before the day, because nothing will be sold before the auction apart from perhaps that lovely old Cadillac! 



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