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Victorian USAR assists Christchurch recovery Disaster Capability Exhibition Moomba MFB staff recognised for Long Service and Academic Achievements Time to Change your clock and change your smoke alarm battery







April 2011




News from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne Australia

From the Acting CEO chemical warfare detection and analysis equipment, self sustainability and flexible habitation, MFB’s mass decontamination capability, technical rescues capabilities including high angle and road rescue, our Marine response capability and the Emergency Medical Response program.

March has been a busy month for MFB’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, which was deployed to Christchurch to help the city recover from the 6.3 magnitude earthquake, which devastated the city on 22 February. Five MFB USAR operators were deployed with colleagues from CFA and VICSES to form the Victorian contingent of the 72-strong Australian team. The team worked in the seaside area of East Brighton to perform damage assessments and work to stabilise structures in order for safe demolition later. Following a 12-day deployment, the team returned on 16 March, just in time to prepare for Victoria’s Disaster Response Capability Exhibition, held at the Melbourne Showgrounds from 30 March – 1 April. The exhibition, sponsored by the Fire Services Commissioner and led by MFB, featured specialist capabilities from MFB, CFA, VICSES, DSE, Ambulance Victoria and Victoria Police. The exhibition was a great opportunity for MFB to display the diversity of our capability with the USAR team alongside HazMat and page 2

As we start to move into the colder months, MFB and CFA are partnering to help communities to prepare for the seasonal increased risk of residential fires. The Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery campaign is now in its 11th year, reminding Victorians to change their smoke alarm batteries in time for winter. This year, fire agencies teamed up with Richmond footballers to promote the campaign. New elements, including special truck signage, also helped spread the message. I would like to congratulate the group of MFB firefighters recognised by the Governor General with a Group Bravery Citation, announced on 21 March. These firefighters showed outstanding bravery in rescuing and treating colleague Leading Firefighter Richard Zapart at a Yarraville incident on 12 October 2007. Happy reading, and don’t forget to change your smoke alarm battery when you change your clock for the end of daylight savings. Shane Wright Acting CEO / Chief Officer

Victorian USAR assists Christchurch recovery Another of the major tasks was to make stable the Participating in the painstakingly delicate task of removing multi-storey buildings floor-by-floor was just one of the many tasks carried out by the 11 Victorian USAR personnel deployed to Christchurch.

11-storey Copthorn Hotel that had two unstable

The team members from MFB, CFA and VICSES,

them with rapid

formed part of the National Heavy Rescue USAR taskforce which deployed to New Zealand on 4 March, and returned from the disaster zone on 16 March.

support columns, putting the entire structure at risk. The team removed rubble from around these columns, placed bracing and form work around them, then filled set concrete to make the structure as safe as possible so

There were two teams working as part of the Australian task force, Alpha team whose Operations Officer was from Fire and Rescue New South Wales and Bravo team, where MFB Senior Station Officer George Arnold was the Operations Officer. The Operations Officers undertook investigations and risk assessments in the Christchurch’s seaside East Brighton area. Despite the scenes of devastation and with the ever-present danger of continuing aftershocks, the USAR team members made valuable contributions to the recovery effort in Christchurch.

demolition crews could work safely. The building was left for 24 hours, after which time USAR teams entered the building to search it and recover personal affects of hotel guests. Contractors who will eventually demolish the hotel were pleased with the level of professionalism and work carried out by our team. The aim of the mission was to help the residents of Christchurch in whatever way possible toward recovery. In the later part of their tour, the team worked with the local police officers in inspecting dwellings to help the community move back into their residences where safe. MFB was at the forefront of the recovery process and we wish New Zealanders all the best in the long process of getting Christchurch back on its feet.

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Victorian USAR operators working as part of one of the Australian teams in Christchurch.

Working to raise the standard in multi-agency response A dazzling display by the High Angle Rescue Team was just one of the many highlights as Victoria’s emergency service organisations displayed their response capabilities from 30 March 1 April at the Melbourne Showgrounds.

The aim of the exhibition was to highlight the depth

The Disaster Response Capability Exhibition was

Queensland floods, the Victorian floods and

a perfect opportunity for MFB, CFA, VICSES, DSE

and breadth of services – and importantly the interoperability of agencies in Melbourne, Victoria, nationally and even internationally. In the past few months MFB members have joined multi-agency responses dealing with the more recently with the Christchurch earthquake

and Ambulance Victoria to showcase their multi-


response capacity. From Emergency Medical

All three of these events were devastating and had

Response, to the HAZMAT team, to Victoria’s Urban Search and Rescue capability, it was clear Victoria’s emergency services have some high level capabilities. Assembled was a great display of the expertise and equipment at Victoria’s disposal and ready to assist anywhere around the world if required. The exhibition, organised in conjunction with the Fire Services Commissioner, explored an all-hazards, all agencies approach to crisis and consequence management with the aim of building national capability in the face of disasters. It demonstrated the depth of resources and the skills of Victoria’s emergency services in their ability to respond to a natural disaster or an event where hazardous materials are involved. The three-day exhibition attracted fire, rescue and medical practitioners from emergency services organisations, local government authorities and departments statewide and nationally.

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their own unique challenges. In each of them MFB was able to add real value and work seamlessly with the existing agencies. It is this interoperability that MFB is keen to further develop and promote.

Clockwise from top: Ambulance Victoria’s mobile command; USAR concrete cutting chainsaws; high angle rescue drops in; Station Officer Darren Roper explains the HART capability; at the ready, DSE Chief Fire Officer Ewan Waller, Ambulance Victoria Operations Manager Paul Holman, MFB Chief Officer Shane Wright and Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley; Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan and Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley inspect some USAR specialist tools; Check out the display on YouTube; MFB’s mass decontamination unit.

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Eastlink Melba Tunnel exercise A two car collision and fire involving a possible spill of dangerous chemicals saw MFB managing a major incident in Eastlink’s Melba Tunnel on Sunday 20 March. Thankfully it was only an exercise, but one that was treated very seriously by all involved, especially after the Burnley Tunnel crash in 2007. MFB ‘responded’ with nine appliances and crews used Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) Breathing Apparatus and protective gear to approach the crash scene to determine the risk posed to the public. The operation gave MFB and the tunnel operators a rare chance to test systems under realistic conditions. The tunnel’s deluge system was particularly impressive, with the crashed vehicles impossible to see behind a solid curtain of water.

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Top: CCTV footage as the exercise unfolded. Left: Check out the exercise on YouTube. Bottom: The exercise was managed from Eastlink’s operations centre.

Don’t forget to change your smoke alarm battery at the end of daylight savings! For the 11th year, MFB and CFA are partnering with Duracell to remind Victorians to change their smoke alarm batteries when they change their clocks on Sunday 3 April. This year, MFB and CFA worked with Aged and Disability departments to have new batteries installed for Home and Community Care (HACC) One of the new posters on North clients who are Balwyn’s Mark IV pumper. over 65, have a health care card and don’t have anyone in the home to change the battery for them. A media campaign also targeted local newspapers, while displays at Bunnings stores this weekend will help to spread the message. This year’s also included a new promotional tool, with campaign posters made up for the front grill of MFB’s most visible assets, our big red trucks.

The posters are made of a flow through type material, which does not restrict air flow to the engines cooling system and affixed with Velcro, making them easily interchangeable for upcoming campaigns.

Community Check out Richmond’s Matt White racing MFB Education staff and CFA firefighters to change smoke alarm fitted the banners batteries. when they visited each station with other merchandise promoting the campaign. The Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery campaign is timed to ensure homes have working smoke alarms before the start of winter fire season, when house fires have a higher chance of starting. Victoria’s fire services attended over 4500 residential fires last year, in which 12 people lost their lives. MFB and CFA’s Chief Officers Shane Wright and Euan Ferguson remind Victorians to change their smoke alarm batteries.

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Staff recoginsed for long service and academic achievements MFB greatly values the accumulated knowledge gained by its long service staff, and on 20 March, over 140 firefighters and corporate staff members received awards at the Long Service and Good Conduct / Academic Awards. CEO Shane Wright and Board Member Ken King presented awards on the day, which was attended by over 600 supportive friends and family members. Long service awards were presented to: 1 for 45 years’ service 2 for 40 years’ service 4 for 35 years’ service 13 for 30 years’ service 51 for 25 years’ service 52 for 20 years’ service 2 for 15 years’ service National medals and clasps were also presented to operational members who had achieved 15, 25 and 35 years’ service.

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Senior Station Officer Garry Cronin (centre) is recognised for 45 years of service with Board Member Ken King and Acting CEO Shane Wright.

Fifteen staff members were also recognised for academic achievements, including Certificate IV and Diplomas in project management, occupational health and safety, training and assessment, applied management and workplace and business coaching. Following the ceremony, friends and family were also given the opportunity to visit the National Sports Museum.

Over 600 recipients, family members, friends and supporters attended the ceremony in the Member’s Dining Room at the MCG.

MFB Districts 2011 (Fairer V MFB moves to five district model With six new Executive Directors now in place (see FireMark Christmas edition) the MFB Board’s vision for the future is taking shape. Part of that vision has already been realised, with the introduction of a five district operational model to replace the former four zone system and align with state boundaries. The five districts are in two Regions – the North West Metro Region under Regional Director Paul Stacchino and the South East Metro Region under Regional Director David Youssef. The map below shows the new boundaries.


MFB Stations MFB Zones LGA Boundary

MFB Regions North West Metro Region South East Metro Region North-West Metro Region Central District


Northern District Western District South-East Metro Region Eastern District Southern District Eastern Metro Northern and Western Metro Southern Metro

Map produced: 1 February 2011 Request ID: A00081

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Smith Street Gas Explosion MFB was on scene at Pasha Turkish Restaurant in Smith Street, Collingwood on 28 March, investigating reports of a smell of gas when two small explosions occurred.

cause of the leak. By turning the main line off and

The restaurant was undergoing renovations at the

from the first explosion coming into contact with

time; three workers inside the building were injured

another pocket of gas.

in the explosion. Fortunately, MFB firefighters were on scene when the explosion happened and were able to give immediate emergency medical assistance to those affected. It’s believed one worker suffered serious burns

on again, they actually added to the escaped gas, which exploded when another worker turned on an electric drill to cut some plaster. A second explosion was triggered by residual fire

The explosions smashed the back windows of the building and also blew down part of a suspended ceiling. Below: Smith Steet was closed while fire crews brought the incident under control.

to his back and airways while the others suffered minor injuries. Ambulance Victoria paramedics took over the medical care from MFB firefighters on their arrival. MFB fire investigators found the explosion was caused from a gas leak; the workers had initially smelled the leaking gas and had been fiddling with the gas main line into the kitchen to try to find the

Thornbury Workshops support JFAIP A visit to the Thornbury workshops was a reward for a 14-year-old Juvenile Fire Awareness and Intervention Program (JFAIP) participant who is interested in becoming a mechanic.

The willingness of the workshops to be involved

The teenager, his family and his JFAIP practitioner

have been involved in fire lighting, working closely

LFF Andrew Luedecke were taken on a tour of

with them and their families in dealing with the

the workshops by Supervisor Sandi Muzzi, who

issue and help prevent deaths, injuries and

showed them through the facilities and services

property damage caused by juvenile fire lighting.

and explained the process of recruiting mechanical apprentices and what their work duties involved. The visit was the final step in participating in the JFAIP program, and a reward for participating in the program, acknowledging successful participation and good conduct. page 10

is a great example of how different departments of MFB can get involved in helping people in our community. The JFAIP program assists young people who

The state-wide program is delivered by selected operational firefighters who have undertaken special training. For enquiries about the JFAIP program, or to refer a potential case, please contact State Coordinator, Senior Station Officer Murray Talbot on 9420 3893.

MFB goes undercover to catch a serial arsonist Surveillance work isn’t on the usual list of duties for an MFB night shift, but in his seconded role to the Victoria Police Arson Squad, Station Officer (SO) Alex Conway recently spent three nights under cover to catch a serial arsonist in the act.

“My secondment to the arson squad has been

The arson squad became aware of an arsonist


working in the Glen Waverley area, following a spate of around 20 small fires in the area,

fantastic for joint operations and knowledge sharing around fire investigation, and ensuring special joint operations, like this one, run smoothly.” “This operation has had a great outcome in preventing further fires around the Glen Waverley

Below: Station Officer Alex Conway working as part of MFB’s fire investigation team.

cumulating in fire at a Swiss Pastry shop on Blackburn Road in the early hours of Monday 31 January (call no 10248), causing extensive damage to the bakery at the back of the shop. Later that day, a surveillance team was established to apprehend the arsonist and prevent further damage. To ensure there was enough evidence, the team needed to catch the arsonist in the act of starting a fire. As a safety measure, SO Conway was assigned to the second arrest team, equipped with two fire extinguishers to start controlling the fire until fire crews could arrive. Three nights later, just after 2am on 3 February, the arsonist made his next move at a kindergarten in Glen Waverley. Unknown to him, the surveillance team – who had been patrolling from 10pm to 5am each night – were hot on his heels. The deliberately lit fire took hold quickly, spreading into the roof space of the building as police swooped in to arrest the man. SO Conway quickly called 000, with crews from Glen Waverley and Vermont South on scene within minutes. SO Conway said the successful operation was a great example of emergency services working in closer partnership following the Bushfires Royal Commission. page 11

MFB puts on a show for Moomba It’s one of the biggest festivals on the Melbourne calendar and MFB was back in the show. The 2011 Moomba long weekend was a fantastic opportunity for MFB to reach thousands of people with fire safety messages just ahead of the planned Change your Clock Change Your Battery smoke alarm campaign. And for firefighters from South Melbourne and Windsor it was a chance to meet the community and give the kids a taste of what it’s like on a fire hose drill. Hundreds of youngsters and their parents joined the crews to hose down a target on the banks of the Yarra. Click on the link to get a flavour of what the three days of the festival was like.

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Top: SmokeBUSter was a popular way to learn about house fires. Above: Check out MFB’s display on YouTube. Below: Kids were pretty excited to have the chance to squirt the hose.

Blast from the past MFB’s has a long history of being involved in the Moomba tradition. Check out what we were up to 20 years ago in this excerpt from FireMark 1991.

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Box Hill’s baby save Unusual calls are all in a day’s work at MFB but it’s pretty rare we’re asked to go to the aid of a six-month-old baby left alone at home.

“I got home to four firefighters and two policemen,

Mum Sue King had been sleep deprived and

“I just think we’re so lucky to live in a country

severely distracted for two days when she left her

where you can call for help and it comes.”

Surrey Hills home on the afternoon of14 February to collect eldest son Brett from kinder.

but they were all great. No one was mad that I’d forgotten Aaron. They just wanted me to know I had done the right thing calling 000,” said Sue.

The story became a huge media event and Assistant Chief Officer Rob Taylor from MFB’s

But it wasn’t until she arrived that she realised

Community Education department, visited Sue and

she had forgotten to put Aaron in with her. Frantic

an attending media throng to explain that safe was

that her baby was home alone and in danger

better than sorry and Sue had definitely done the

she called friends for help but to no avail. So she

right thing by calling emergency services.

decided to call 000 and MFB’s Box Hill crew were on their way and first on scene.

“It’s a good safety message to get to the community. We would much rather turn up in

Sue told them where to find the key and they let

circumstances like this than have someone fail to

themselves in to find a perfectly safe and sleeping

call and a tragedy occur,” said ACO Taylor.

child exactly where he had been left.

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L-R: Baby Aaron with Leading Firefighter Shane Sanderson, mother Sue with brother Brett, Leading Firefighter Peter Killick, Firefighter Andrew Farrance and Senior Station Officer Ross Halliwell. Front - Basil the dog.

Group bravery citation The Governor General has awarded a Group Bravery Citation to MFB crews involved in the rescue and treatment of colleague, Leading Firefighter Richard Zapart at a Yarraville incident on 12 October 2007. At the incident, Leading Firefighter Richard Zapart was caught in a flash fire and severely injured, before colleagues Leading Firefighter Mark Fincher, Leading Firefighter Brian O’Connell and Senior Firefighter Russell Johnson rescued him from the blaze. Each received the Valour Medal in

Right: The Group Bravery Citation Insignia.

occurred at furniture manufacturer Japanese Screens, were unforeseen; the fire was extremely unusual in that the ignition did not occur until the MFB crews had been in attendance for some time. Thanks to the bravery and dedication shown by LFF Zapart’s colleagues, he was rescued from the fire and received prompt medical treatment by MFB firefighters and paramedics.

2009 in recognition of their efforts.

This incident, both horrific in nature and lasting in

Other crew members were also honoured by the

impact, displayed the very best qualities of MFB

MFB for their role which has now been reinforced

staff - camaraderie, dedication and bravery.

by the Governor General’s Citation. (CLICK HERE

At the Valour Medals presentation ceremony in 2009

to view the Governor General’s comments.)

Leading Firefighter Zapart said of his colleagues:

The circumstances surrounding the fire, which

“They don’t see themselves as heroes but that’s exactly what they are – heroes.”

Cooking up ‘A Taste of Harmony’ For the second year running, Qualified Firefighter (QFF) Sally Munro has delighted Eastern Hill fire crews and headquarters staff with a curry lunch to celebrate ‘A Taste of Harmony’. With one in four workers coming from overseas, ‘A Taste of Harmony’ recognises the cultural diversity of Australian workplaces by encouraging people to organise and share a multicultural lunch with their

QFF Munro is no stranger to Melbourne’s cultural diversity; currently holding the role of Outreach Aboriginal Liaison Officer, she works closely with the four Multicultural Liaison Officers to promote fire education to Melbourne’s Aboriginal communities and encourage awareness of employment opportunities at MFB. Below: QFF Sally Munro impresses Leading Firefighter Steve O’Malley with her culinary delights.

colleagues during Cultural Diversity Week. QFF Munro’s curries were so popular last year that she was called on to repeat her culinary success again this year, bettering her efforts with an even bigger variety of curries, catering to vegetarians, to meat-lovers and a whole range of spice levels! Not surprisingly, attendance was up this year, with over 50 employees and firefighters taking the time to enjoy the feast, accompanied by a steaming cup of Chai tea.

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Firefighters pick up Chinatown chick Firefighters from East Melbourne fire station picked up a chick on 17 March, rescuing it from a tree in Melbourne’s Chinatown.

found to be in good health despite some fleas.

Following reports that the chicken and bystanders

Angelique had been listening to the unusual radio

were distressed, the crew arrived on scene just

call and volunteered to take Lucky home to live on

before 11am to find the chicken stuck up the tree

her farm.

around 10 metres high.

Photo L-R: Firefighter Robert Magart, Firefighter Julian Philippe, Senior Station Officer Mark Carter with Lucky the chicken and Qualified Firefighter Steve Kemper.

Senior Station Officer Mark

Nicknamed ‘Lucky’, the chicken has already been adopted; Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) call taker

Carter wisely advised the senior members of his crew to stand back (to avoid bird poo), while Firefighter Julian Phillipe gave shook the tree to coax the chicken down. Unable to locate an owner, the crew returned to station with the chicken, where it was inspected by an animal welfare officer and







April 2011




News from the Metropolitan Fire Bridade, Melbourne Australia

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FireMark April 2011  
FireMark April 2011  

News from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne Australia