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FPC fire protection grants deliver for WA brigades

McAlinden Bushfire Brigade – Fast-fill trailer with high-volume pump and standpipe.

Western Australia’s Forest Products Commission recognises the important role of volunteer fire brigades, local government authorities, and community organisations in protecting local communities, forests, and State’s plantations from the threat of bushfire. Source: Timberbiz

To support their efforts in planning, preparing, and responding to bushfire emergencies, the FPC launched the Community Fire Protection Grants Program last year to provide funding of up to $10,000 per entity for equipment and supplies, training activities, and professional development.

The program selected applications aligned with the FPC’s priorities linked to its softwood plantation management, increased understanding about fire management in plantations, and delivered the greatest benefits to local communities.

Beelerup’s slip on fire fighting unit.

Following a competitive judging process, 12 successful applicants received grant funding under the 2023 program:

  • Allanson Bushfire Brigade (1) – Radios
  • Allanson Bushfire Brigade (2) – LED lights
  • Argyle Irishtown Bushfire Brigade – Radios
  • Beleerup Bushfire Brigade – Tanker equipment and supplies
  • Donnybrook Town Volunteer Bushfire Brigade – Gazebos, chairs, and tables
  • McAlinden Bushfire Brigade – Fast-fill trailer with high-volume pump and standpipe
  • Mumballup-Noggerup Volunteer Bushfire Brigade – Submersible water pump and high-volume petrol pump
  • Shire of Boyup Brook – Radios
  • Shire of Cranbrook – Water tanks
  • Shire of Donnybrook-Balingup – Radio twin packs
  • Shire of Nannup – Radios
  • Upper Capel Bushfire Brigade – Water tank and stand

The program was beneficial to community volunteer bushfire brigades and local government authorities who have been able to use the funding to enhance their firefighting and fire protection needs.

Argyle Irishtown Bushfire Brigade – radios.

One of the recipients of the program, Allanson Volunteer Bushfire Brigade in the Shire of Collie, utilised the grant to purchase multi-frequency handheld radios and portable LED lighting systems.

It is common to experience poor cellular signal in the bush, hampering effective communication during the critical first few hours of a bushfire where coordination of firefighting plans and teamwork amongst emergency services were crucial.

The radios have the capability to communicate across a broad range of frequencies, enabling the brigade to communicate effectively with multiple emergency service agencies during operations.

The new handheld radios enable not only high-quality communication between firefighting crews, but flexibility and mobility that allow efficient survey and reporting of bushfire in less accessible locations, which was not always possible with other hard mounted radios.

“The FPC Grants program has been extremely beneficial to the Allanson Volunteer Bushfire Brigade,” Shire of Collie Community Emergency Services Manager Kohdy Flynn said.

“Without this significant funding opportunity, the brigade could not purchase crucial equipment to fulfill its commitment in helping to protect the community against the threat of fire. The Allanson volunteer members and the Shire of Collie recognise and appreciate the funding that has been provided by the FPC.”

Another recipient, McAlinden Bushfire Brigade in Boyup Brook, secured a fast-fill trailer with a high-volume pump and a standpipe.

The trailer boosts response speed with quick refill of fire trucks, including private units, and firefighting aircrafts’ water bladders for aerial attack during bushfire emergency response.

“We’re pleased that volunteer fire brigades, local government authorities, and community organisations are seeing real benefits from the program,” FPC General Manager Stuart West said.

“It further strengthens our collaboration with regional communities to enhance bush fire management and protection in WA.”

The 2024 FPC Community Fire Protection Grants Program applications have recently closed with an overwhelming response. The successful applicants will be announced soon.