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Gold mine of opportunity for bushfire training
Tuesday 16 January 2018 – 2:00 PM

Firefighters are getting hands-on bushfire firefighting training in a safe environment thanks to a new partnership between the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) and Newmont’s Boddington Gold Mine.

A group of firefighters from DFES’ Station Officer Development Program (SODP) got a chance to put theory into practice at a five day training camp at the mine site in September.

DFES District Officer John Kagis, from the WA Fire and Emergency Services (WAFES) Academy, said the mine, 16 kilometres from the Boddington town site, is ideal for bushfire training exercises.

“The mine is set on 35,000 hectares of jarrah forest and is separated into areas that can be used for backburning strategies and tactics,” John said.

“The camp gives officers the chance to operate in a realistic bushfire environment and gain experience with supervising crews, aerial firefighting resources and earth moving machinery.

“The training exercises put them in a situation where they need to apply strategy and think about resources. It equips them with the knowledge and skills they’ll need to effectively combat bushfires as a station officer in the future.”

Earlier this year DFES used the same location to deliver an Advanced Bushfire Firefighting course to local government Community Emergency Services Managers, Bushfire Risk Mitigation Officers and local volunteers.

“The courses were run as live in camps, and the feedback from participants has been that it’s an excellent training environment.

“It gives them the opportunity to reinforce theory with practical activities such as effectively using rake hoes to construct earth breaks, using drip torches to undertake back burning, and practising burn over procedures,” John said.

In return for hosting DFES, the Emergency Response Teams from Newmont’ Boddington mine will receive specialised training in bushfire suppression and incident management from subject matter experts from DFES and Parks and Wildlife Services.

John said there will be opportunities to incorporate training at the mine for future trainee firefighters and volunteers.

The WAFES Academy is planning more courses at the mine site in 2018.