Volunteer firefighters better prepared

UPGRADE: Stirling North CFS Captain Ben Russ is keen for his crew to receive improved training on the new compound.
UPGRADE: Stirling North CFS Captain Ben Russ is keen for his crew to receive improved training on the new compound.

A new training compound for firefighters in Stirling North will benefit crews from Port Augusta all the way to Leigh Creek. 

A recent cash injection nearing $9000 from the RAA Regional Safety Grant means brigades from around the region can better prepare for emergency situations in the future.

The money will go towards major excavations at the compound, spreading crusher dust and installing new flood lights. 

Stirling North CFS Captain Ben Russ said it’s been a long process, with improved security and functionality a key focus for the upgrade.

“This seems to be the final step to get it functional,” the volunteer firefighter said. 

“We are the control centre for another five or six brigades and it just makes it a lot more user friendly when we are on deployment to have a secure lot for all of our cars.

“We are limited by the amount of light we have sometimes, we have got ways and means with our trucks and things, but to provide the best possible training in a secure environment is better for everybody.”

Mr Russ is hopeful that the new-look compound will increase the brigade’s status and attract the interest of new volunteers.

“It’s about getting the best out of our crews and giving them the best skills to actually perform their roles,” Mr Russ said.

“The more that we can do to help people gain those skills is going to be of benefit for everyone.”

The Stirling North CFS were one of 12 community groups from the north to the South East and west coast to receive funding for bushfire safety projects.

RAA Insurance spokesperson Shaun Ryan said they received almost 100 grant applications from rural communities.

“RAA’s Regional Safety Grants program has again supported a diverse range of sporting clubs, schools and community groups across the state from Port Lincoln to Compton, near Mt Gambier,’’ Mr Ryan explained.

“The total grant pool of just over $50,000 has been distributed between 12 worthy projects around the state, which aim to improve the safety of rural South Australians.’’