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Byron Shire
April 19, 2024

Federal fire training raises preparedness questions

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RFS vehicles gathering at the Federal/Goonengerry RFS brigade shed in preparation for the training exercise. Photo Aslan Shand

Last week nine fire brigades come together in Federal to simulate saving the Federal Store and village from a fire. 

The key theory tested was, ‘could they get water to the store from a small dam over 300m from the main street, Federal Drive?’

As there is no reticulated water supply in Federal, it means there is no permanent town water supply that can be easily tapped into to ensure a constant water supply while fighting a fire in the village. 

Instead, the Federal Goonengerry RFS brigade wanted to determine if they could get water to the store if it was needed to fight a fire. 

A combination of seven RFS and two Fire and Rescue NSW brigades came together to simulate fighting a fire at the Federal Store. Photo Carl Sparre

Successful training

‘It was a very successful training on the ground in Federal,’ Bob Graham, RFS Group Commander, told The Echo.

‘The Captain of Federal/Goonengerry, John Nardi, and Captain of Clunes, Nev Battistuzzi, brought together a range of brigades to train, this included seven RFS brigades, and the Bangalow and Mullumbimby Fire and Rescue NSW brigades’. 

Saving Federal Village. Photo Carl Sparre

‘It was a very realistic training day at the Federal Store, simulating a structural fire, involving a static water source, and the necessity of relaying the water supply from a distant water source.’

The question of how the growing Federal community could supply a clean water supply via tanks was raised, following issues with weeds in the dam, which blocked some of the pump filters. 

‘There was a good spirit of co-operation on the day, resulting in a smoothly run operation,’ said Graham.

‘A stellar performance all round,’ agreed Pete from the Main Arm RFS.

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