On the 3rd May St Andrews Country Fire Authority hosted one of the largest fire-fighting training events in regional Victoria. St Andrews is a small town just north of Melbourne, Victoria. The fires known as Black Saturday, on February 7, 2009, killed 173 people, injured another 414, razed 2133 houses and 10,000km of fence-line and killed an estimated one million animals. 20 People died from St Andrews. The devastation, sorrow and loss is hard to take in.

The CFA are conducting concentrated training in the areas worst hit by the disaster.

Over 70 volunteer fire fighters attended from a number of  stations in the region, including Warrandyte, Panton Hill, Diamond Creek, and of course St Andrews.The purpose of the day was to practise and refine strategies in the instance of fire breaking out in the town, where the closest water supply is 400 metres away. This exercise involves a calculation of how many pumping stations would be required, at specific intervals depending on the altitude, and potential loss of water pressure due to friction.

In getting a brief from the firefighters, the training was deemed to be a success in the event of a local fire in St Andrews, or combatting the threat of incoming bushfires.

All of the trainees that attended on Sunday were volunteers – all with a normal day job. They sacrifice their own time to assist the community, so when a team was called on to support the event by providing meals and refreshments, RRT were very happy to help with the 70+ meals required. The RRT team of 10 people worked at local CFA station preparing and serving hot chips and freshly cooked hamburgers to all.

As one of the fire fighters said, “If you go out to do the training and everything is going wrong, at least we come back to great feed!!‎”

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