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Training day makes early start on bushfire preparation

Published: 17th August 2007

Preparation for the summer bushfire season will begin this weekend when more than 500 volunteers from Sydney's south west attend a NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) bushfire training day on Sunday.

Members from 77 NSWFB Community Fire Units (CFUs) from Menai, Revesby, Riverwood and Engadine will attend the training session to further develop the skills they need to assist firefighters in defending their own homes against bushfires.

NSWFB Commissioner Greg Mullins said CFUs were made up of ordinary men and women who play an important role in supporting firefighters during bushfires in their community.

"There are 350 CFUs and 6,400 volunteers across the state.  It is the role of CFUs to put out spot fires and flying embers in their street before and after the main fire fronts have passed. This allows NSWFB and NSW Rural Fire Service firefighters to get on with the main job of fighting the intense fire fronts.

"It is about preparation and prevention and not just acting when there's a bushfire.  Volunteers work all year round clearing leaves out of gutters, establishing fire breaks and preparing themselves and their properties for the bushfire season," he said.

During the training session volunteers learn about bushfire behaviour, first aid and test their skills pumping water from a static water supply using a portable pump. They also practise using fire hoses and hydrants.

The training is provided by firefighters from the NSWFB Bushfire/Natural Hazards Section and local fire stations to help the volunteers develop the skills they need to assist firefighters defend their homes against bushfires.

CFUs are provided with a CFU trailer valued at $15,000, including fire fighting hoses, portable pumps, hydrant standpipes, safety helmets, gloves, smoke masks, goggles, tools, first aid kits, boots and protective clothing.

At 12.30pm the Local Member for Heathcote, Paul McLeay MP will attend the training day and officially hand over the keys of the new CFU unit in Killmarnock Road Engadine to the CFU team leader.