What have we been doing in August?

It has been so very cold and wet this month and no call outs to fires, but we've still kept busy.

On the last Schedules of July, we had Nick from DFES's Media Unit come out to take video and photographs of us, ready to make a short film about us as part of 1st Lt Angus Hay's short-listing for the Murray Lang Bushfire Service Award.

Filming 1

It was great to see so many members turning out to support Angus, and we had a bit of fun being placed here and there for the filming.

Andy & Phil

filming 3

New member, Phil, really looked the part up in the monitor bay with Andy! 

Andy & Phil

We loved this photo we managed to get of husband and wife fireys, Michelle and Elton.

elton & michelle

We also liked this very artistic photo that Mirline got of some of the crew!

arty crew

After we'd done some hose-work near the station, some of the members went with Nick out to the power-line trail to do a little more fiming. 

trail filming

He even had a drone, so the footage from that will be very interesting to see!   We're looking forward to viewing the finished film at the awards breakfast next month and will hopefully be able to link it here on the website.


Work on our skills refreshing is still going on.  We borrowed the real fire blankets from the Mundaring Fire School to do some burnover drills.  Have to remember to keep those backsides and toes tucked in, and even in cold weather it's very good to be able to get out from under those hot blankets!

In August there was a Rural Urban Exercise (RUI) set up down in Darlington with all the local brigades attending. 

light tankers


Dave &Pierre & Andy

It was very educational to go round some of the houses and assess them as if a fire was three hours away,  seeing what houses we could defend and how to best prepare those homes for the fire's approach. A good reminder to us all that you should walk around outside and look at your own house with an approaching fire in mind, then make changes in acessibility and fuel loads to make it easier for a brigade to save your home.  Start preparing now!

The tall and the short of our brigade.  Everyone is valuable!


After we'd done assessments under the experienced tutelage of Adrian and Dave,  we ran hoses out round chosen homes and practiced our Asset Protection, and ended the morning with debrief, then a sausage sizzle and some networking with the other brigade members at Darlington Station.

This isn't our team, because we didn't get a photo of our asset protection set up, but this is how it gets done.  Two hoses, one going to each side of the building.

asset team

Continuing the socialising, some members of the Brigade and a few friends from other brigades too, (Hi to Suzy from Bakers Hill and Kate from Darlington!) went to Mundaring Folk and Blues Club's August concert and had a great time listening to the musicians.  We also got in a lot of chatting in between acts, of course!  We enjoyed it so much, we think we'll go next month too, so if you missed out last time, come along!

Between The St. John's First Aid courses at Mundaring Fire School, and the WAERN radio course at Mundaring Emergency Communication Centre, both of which were attended by quite a posse of Sawyers Brigade members, a couple of Schedules in the month saw a few less people than usual on-station, but the last Saturday of the month was back to a full complement of eager members, here seen learning about connection points, flow rates, water conservation and more from Adrian.

adrian 1

The person on the far right of this next pic is one of our latest new members, Rob.  We have also been joined by Shaun and Andrew (yes another Andrew or Andy, we have five now and every one is welcome!)  The information evening we held this month for people considering joining was very valuable.  Thanks for stepping up guys!  Your brigade and your community are very appreciative!

adrian 2

Next month is going to be very busy.  We have our Brigade's annual dinner and also the DFES awards breakfast to go to.   (Go Angus go!)  Some members are also helping by being Trail Support Crew for the Oxfam Trailwalk and the Trek the Trail weekends.   We also have a combined burnover training event up at Chidlow Brigade to go to, and the annual "Dig 'em out day" for training on dealing with soft sand driving, organised by the Darlington Brigade.  That should be a bit of fun! 

Fire season is coming, and with all the enthusiasm we've brought to the many training events and classes we've attended, our Brigade looks like being super well-prepared for this year.   Well done everyone!

Great photos this month taken by Craig, Ricky of Darlington Brigade, Nikki, Mirline,  Andrew, and Tina. Don't forget to send Tina any photo you get that you'd like to see on the website.       








End of July already!

Once again a busy month.

We didn't have many fire call outs, as you would expect in winter.  One to a fire in the wheel of a truck that had already been put out by the efficient driver by the time we got there.  Stand down!

Wheel fire

The other call was to a pile of rubbish that had got alight somehow and was soon put out by the attending brigades.  The 1.4 came home with some oranges in the back after a trip through an orchard for that one!  They were delicious.  :D


On election day, we went to the local primary school, our polling place, to do some chatting about fire preparation and some recruiting.


And we also held a very successful wood raffle at Mundaring Markets. More money towards our automatic hose reel!


The instigation in Mundaring Shire this year of skills refresher forms for all active members has seen the trainers of the Brigade rise to meet the challenge. We have already got some people signed off, though of course we plan on refreshing these very important skills through the off-season ready to hit the fire-ground running next summer.

Drafting water from lakes and dams has been a good skill to refresh.  We don't often need to draft here because our area has plenty of hydrants, but it is a skill that you really need when you need it.

Here's Captain John showing us how not to get the drafting started. :)


And how to do it properly! 

john drafting serious

The next weekend, Keith took over the training of the attending team to great interest from all concerned.


We had some exciting news that our 1st. Lt. Angus Hay has been shortlisted for the Murray Lang Bushire Service Award.  Angus is a hardworking member of our Brigade, always available to turn his hand to anything that needs doing, and a patient teacher of new recruits on and off the fireground.  On the very last Saturday of this month, a team will be coming to film our station as part of the award. How exciting!  Good luck Angus!


There are many hard working members of our Brigade.  Award nomination possiblities come up at times, so keep alert and if you admire a member of the Brigade and think they need recognition, get writing!  Right now there is one for Volunteers of long standing via the 2016 Volunteer Service Awards.  Is there anyone you know who could fit the bill?  If you don't write about them, maybe no one else will ever know how great they are.    

Last week, Jen and Steffo opened their home to the members of the rather informal fundraising crew.  Some great ideas were had, and some very nice wine and nibblies were consumed.   More on our plans soon, but in the meantime, a hint; start boning up on your trivia knowledge!

FR Team

Our station has had work begun on a paved entrance.  No more bumpy turnouts!  Good work, construction team!


The other Saturday, all six of the currently-active lady Firefighters were at the station so we just had to get a photo.

lady firefighters

That was a very busy morning, but then they all seem to be busy these days.  We're loving all the good energy buzzing around on Saturday mornings.  Keep up the enthusiasm, team!


Socialising is going well too, with a jolly and well-attended bonfire night.  That's one fire we didn't have to hurry to put out!


Next month we are hoping to get a few music lovers together to go to the local Mundaring Folk and Blues club.  Members, keep your eyes on the Brigade email for that!

A warm welcome to Phil and Janet, who have joined the Brigade.  We and your community very much appreciate your offer to do good things for us all.  We are looking forward to getting to know you better.  The bonfire was a great start!   We missed getting a good photo of Janet because she was bending over patting Kelly the Labrador, but here's Phil and Janet chatting to Angus.


Gee, is this a Fire Brigade or a Labrador Club?  :D

Plenty of good stuff on the horizon for our Brigade, so keep watching this space!         

Great photos this week provided by Andrew, Craig, Nikki, Elton and Tina.  Remember, if you have a good photo, send it to Tina!







June is nearly over!

This month has gone so fast.  Luckily we still collected plenty of photos!

Both Saturday Schedules and controlled burns have been fantastic, with a large number of people turning out, showing plenty of enthusiasm and good spirits. Many thanks to you all. You are making the Brigade and station a wonderful place to be!

We've had two controlled burns, and one call-out to a car fire this month. 

The first burn was at one of our member family's places in Mt Helena. A few of our new firefighters turned out and got their first controlled burn under their belts towards their full firefighter qualification.

craig and flames

Andy was hard at work and seemed to be enjoying himself.


Michelle did a great job with the firebug and the rake hoe, while Angus looked after us all.

Michelle and angus

We managed to find and safely move the resident bobtail to unburned land, so we were very happy about that, and the fire was a nice cool mosaic burn so the bush will soon recover.


The next burn was to be on crown land down Cole road. We did a great job making a firebreak that ran along a creek line and clearing existing firebreaks of fallen trees, but in the end the land was just too wet to get burning.  We actually had a great time, though.  Lots of good company, beautiful forest, and a fine and bright winter day made it all worth it.


Steffo and Jen seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Steffo and Jen

It's amazing how fast you can clear a break with many hands.  We reckoned we were rivalling the hotshots of the US for efficiency!   

The firebreaks will still be ready for us when the ground dries out a little, and then we will be able to complete the work.  Here is Gogs posing with the mega strong leaf blower that we borrowed for the day.  We're thinking it might be a good fundraising goal next. It made short work of the leaves on the firebreak and is apparently great for clearing around piles of logs and stags too. 

Gogs and leafblower

Our only call out this month was to a car fire in the evening.  It was dark and smoky.

smoky car fire

We are not equipped with the breathing apparatus to put out car fires, but we helped direct traffic.  Elton did a great job of getting the 1.4 through the confusion of backed up cars to the fire.


In fundraising news, Nikki ran another humdinger at Club Sierra.  Go Nikki!  Her lovely mum, Val, became ill at the event, and we are glad to hear that she is feeling ok now.  Final numbers are not yet in but the amount raised was around the $700 dollar mark!  Quite a few members went along to help set up and run the Ladies Night, and many thanks go to you all for that.  Our goal of getting the automatic hose reel winder has come a long way closer in the last two months!  Special thanks to Club Sierra! Many thanks also to everyone who donated products and services to the cause.  Here's Andrew picking up a generous voucher for the raffle from Hangers Boutique in Mundaring. 


Andrew has just today completed his Crew Leader training, so well done, Andrew!

Other generous businesses to thank and support are Amcal Chemist Mundaring, Earnshaws, Mundaring Massage, Patch of Country, and Tulips beauty salon.  Also our own Jen and Steffo Gardiner once more suplied a table full of amazing food, so many thanks for that to you both!

This month, some of our members popped in and tackled the woodpile for our long time stalwarts, Charles and Anne, who spoiled us with afternon tea afterwards. We are hoping to get that pile down to nothing very soon!


This Saturday we broke into teams and took turns clearing out the old fire station and doing a driving GPS exercise.  We got a long way towards having the old station fully clear.  "Many hands make light work!"  A little rain made the driving more fun too.

Driving in the rain

Little Niamh was a great help at the old station and can hardly wait to be old enough to be a cadet!

niamhin LT 

Our AGM saw that quiet achiever, Warren, scoop the pool of prizes, with awards both for most valuable member and also the Equipment Officer's choice.  It just goes to show that those members who go along quietly doing their best are noticed and appreciated more than they might know! 


Photo credits this month go to Andrew, Craig, Elton and Tina. Don't forget to send us any great pics you get!






News for May

Well, it might be off fire season, but the brigade has been very busy.  There were so many great photos taken that it was hard to know which ones to choose!

Right at the end of April, we had a Games Night at the station.  Sadly only one photo was taken, early in the evening, because we were all having too much fun to remember to take any after that. By all the reports we've had, it was a successful night.  Many thanks to Jen and Steffo Gardiner for providing the incedible spread of food that we were spoilt with.

Games night

We have had four new members go through their basic training this month. Many congratulations to Andy, Jenny, Mirline and Murray.  We are very glad to have you on board with the team!  Looks like you had some fun at training!

Andy & Mirline

We are also very lucky to have had Gordon's brother,  Pierre, join us from West Swan Brigade.  Their loss, our gain!  Pierre is already trained and ready to go.  

Niamh from the local Cadet Brigade came out to a Saturday Schedule and gave us an example of the sort of thoroughness the Cadets learn to put into vehicle checks.

Niamh & Michelle

On the 14th of May, Club Sierra hosted a Fit Night with proceeds going to our Brigade.  Many thanks to Julie and Tarrin for offering their venue and services, and to our own Nikki for organising it.   Four members, Andrew, Gordon. Pierre and Tina,  went along to do a bit of PR and ended by joining in to the whole hour's class, boots and all!

Tina Gogs and Pierre

Gordon even wore his helmet for a while!  Brave man!

fit night 1

It was a great exercise in community spirit all around.  There was also a raffle with prizes provided by Mundaring flower Shop, Arbonne via Nikki, The Body Shop, Earnshaw's RE, and Jen and Steffo Gardiner. If you can, give them some of your custom and tell them why.  :) 


On top of all the fun and fitness, the night also earned over $600 towards the automatic hose reel winder that we are currently raising funds to buy.   Well done to everyone involved!

Next month, Club Sierra will once more kindly open their doors for us, this time to host a Ladies' Night.  $10.00 will get you in, plus a glass of champers, lots of lovely nibblies, and many freeby items and special offers provided by a range of stall holders. It promises to be a good laugh so if you know a lady who likes a bargain,  or are one, use this link to buy your tickets.


On the 20th of May,  16 of our brigade members turned out in Perth to raise money at the annual street appeal for the bushfire brigades.  This was a fantastic effort, as the more people you have, the more money comes to your brigade.  We aren't sure of final numbers, but it looks like $3000 or so will be our share for this year. Woo hoo!

Secretary Vicki and Captain John were there, working above and beyond the call of duty as usual.

John & vicki

Charles, who has been to this event to collect money for us every year for 20 years!  Go Charles!

charles and tina

Jenny got what we think was probably the best single donation of the day of $100!  Well done Jen!

The archive shelves upstairs in the station are finished at last!  Yay, no more head bumps! (Though it might be too late for Tina, judging from that photo!)


Saturday Schedules have been bustling all month.  It has been fantastic to see so much enthusiasm at the Brigade.   The cup of tea time is always a good laugh and chance for the team to bond a bit more.

cup of tea

We have also done some very interesting training exercises.


And had fun too.

jen and andy

We haven't managed any controlled burns yet, due to heavy rain popping up to spoil our plans every time, but we're hoping to change that at the end of this week.

Last weekend we got a table together to go to a Quiz Night being held at Gidgegannup to help a mounted games team get to Ireland for the world champs. It was a fun night.  We were running second after three rounds but a couple of bad rounds after that saw our standing drop.  We're sure that all the beer didn't have any effect on that!

quiz night

The AGM is on tonight.  Don't forget to come if you are a member!  There will surely be news from the AGM in next month's news.  Who will win the Melting Moments award this year?  The suspense is intense!




News for April

Well, let's see, firstly we've had a quiet month for fires, which is very good news!

There was a car fire down Mundaring Weir Road, which our Brigade attended to make sure it didn't get away into the bush, and to help direct traffic.


We were very pleased to see that Captain John attended that incident after a long recuperation time after an operation.  Good to see you back on the turnouts, John, we've missed you!

We've had some good times training this month:

New members, Michelle and Andy, had fun at Saturday Schedules with the help of Elton, Andrew and Allan.

sat sched

sat shced 2


Quite a group of us went up to the Chidlow VBFB's Station to join in on a seminar on smoke and using the full face respirators that we now carry on the vehicles. Others of us completed the same course last year here at our station.


Selfie photo of Mike wearing his resipirator from the Facebook page of Chidlow VBFB!   

We also had some fun at our station doing a quiz that combined radio use and mapping.  This was only the dry run to get us familiar with the concept.   Next month we are going to take our radios and head out in teams and see who can answer all the questions first with the correct radio form, and win the much-coveted choccy frogs!

This is Team Bravo working hard on an answer. 


Last Saturday we headed out with a full crew to check out some different tracks in Sawyers Valley and to give everyone a go at driving.


We all moved around positions in the vehicles, which was lucky because it got a bit squeezy in the back of the 1.4!

14 squeezy

It was still fun being out with the team!


Building at the station is still going on.  The archive shelves upstairs are now being put in.  We now have a security spotlight on the west side of the station.

We are very happy to have Michelle joining us here.  Michelle is married to Elton, so we now have another husband and wife team on the Brigade.  It means you always have something to talk about together, that's for sure! 


At the end of April, we are having a social Games Night at the station. Steffo and his lovely wife, Jen, have very kindly offered to cater it, so we are looking forward to a very fun and tasty night.  Photos next time!

Many thanks to this month's photographers: Warren, Mike, Andrew and Tina.






Subscribe to Sawyers Valley Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade RSS