FIRED UP: Members of the Alphadale Rural Fire Service, from left, David Knight, Ron Allport, Regina Baillie, and Daniel Purnell, with new equipment.
FIRED UP: Members of the Alphadale Rural Fire Service, from left, David Knight, Ron Allport, Regina Baillie, and Daniel Purnell, with new equipment. Cathy Adams

New gear takes the heat off rural firies

WITH only a wayward spark or a cigarette butt needed to set the Northern Rivers ablaze, 13 of the region's rural fire service brigades are celebrating receiving a vital boost in equipment worth more than $50,000.

The equipment was part of $1.7 million worth of resources provided through the NSW Rural Fire Service Association's RFSA grant scheme, statewide.

Alphadale, Bentley, Boatharbour, Larnook, Mullumbimby, Nimbin, North Casino, Rosebank, Wilsons Creek, Woodview, Wyneden, Wyrallah and Yorklea RFS brigades all shared in the grant.

Between them the brigades received more than $40,000 worth of items including GPS units, high pressure cleaner, tables, chairs, urns, mower, reversing cameras, sun shade, electric hose reels, portable fridge, data projectors, data screens, brush cutters, printers, computers, ride on mower, DVD/VCR player, a television and portable fridge.

Gavin Lane of the Alphadale brigade said they had been issued with $3500 worth of items which would be used around the station and on the trucks.

"The safety on and off the fire ground is paramount to our volunteers and the reversing camera and GPS unit will greatly enhance this safety," he said.

"One item we've received is a backpack blower, which we aim to use on fire grounds for back-burning.

"This can get the fire burning in the right direction by giving the fire oxygen and pushing the flames in the right direction but the blower can also put flames out by starving the fire of oxygen."

The Northern Rivers Zone also received a $6000 laminator and the Northern Rivers Support Brigade $5500 toward a concrete slab and the erection of a roof.

Member for Lismore Thomas George last week also announced new fire trucks for Clunes, Murwillumbah, Drake and Urbenville, a new logistics/command vehicle for Lismore, a station upgrade for Dunoon, and new stations for Alphadale and Kyogle.

The announcement comes after 100 new RFS fire trucks were rolled out on Friday.

RFSA President Tim Arnott said the funding capacity of individual brigades in NSW, particularly smaller brigades in rural and remote locations, could be tough.

"Brigades are often in need of items that are not covered by direct government and council funding so the grant scheme offers a means of financial assistance to ensure the men and woman of the Rural Fire Service have access to items and equipment that make performing their duties just that little bit easier," he said.



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