Grand beginnings for 60 year old urban bushfire brigade
The West Swan Bush Fire Brigade’s (BFB) first ever task was extinguishing fires at the Australian 1957 Grand Prix, and the diversity of jobs has continued over the next six decades.
Recently the brigade celebrated its 60th anniversary which provided an opportunity to look back at the brigade’s foundations and also to its future.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Wayne Gregson said the brigade had come a long way since attending incidents with their own tractors and trailers at the Grand Prix.
Today, West Swan BFB has added to its primary response role and is an established regional support unit, flexible and ready to respond to the needs of the whole State.
Commissioner Gregson said that as the West Swan area had become increasingly urbanised the brigade had evolved and adapted with it.
“The brigade has provided vital support to operations in the Swan region, including fires in grasslands, native bush reserves, pine and native forests, national parks, urban, rural and semi-rural sub-divisions, as well as blazes impacting major rail and highway infrastructure,” Commissioner Gregson said.
Commissioner Gregson highlighted the brigade’s commitment to helping out in other parts of the State, attending fires in Margaret River and Yarloop as well as providing an efficient service in their home area.
“I know the career firefighters at Ellenbrook Fire Station in particular are appreciative of the significant role West Swan BFB play in the City of Swan and surrounding areas, and their readiness to work together effectively towards a common goal,” Commissioner Gregson said.
West Swan BFB Captain Rudi James said the brigade worked closely with the city’s brigades along with neighbouring Ellenbrook and Midland career stations and focused a lot of their energy on community engagement.
“In the 2015/16 season we were one of the most active brigades in the State with some of the highest volunteer hours,” he said.
“We have done more than a dozen community events so far this year, and we have a brigade that really enjoys this aspect of volunteering.”
A relatively young brigade, the average age of members is in their 30s. However the brigade has a group of well-established members with 15 years of service or more.
“We’re looking forward to many more years of service to the community,” Rudi said.