Forrestfield: volunteer fire crews warm up for Bush Fire Games after 3 year break

Kalamunda Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade members (back) Duncan Reynolds, David Carroll, Steve Lake, Dave Schwass and Eric Swaby, and (front) Chloe O'Neill.  Picture: David Baylis d470131
Kalamunda Volunteer Bush Fire Brigade members (back) Duncan Reynolds, David Carroll, Steve Lake, Dave Schwass and Eric Swaby, and (front) Chloe O'Neill. Picture: David Baylis d470131

THE Bush Fire Games are heating up for a big return to Forrestfield in September after a three-year hiatus.

Games chairman Murray Redmond said that with up to 30 teams competing and the addition of an expo, they were hoping to grow the games and demonstrate firefighters’ skills to visitors.

“We have 25 teams competing from around the metro area and even a few outer metro teams,” Mr Redmond said.

“The games haven’t been run for three years and we would encourage all volunteer bushfire brigades to get involved. It is a great way to enhance skills and form life bonds with those from other brigades.”

He said the tasks were all basic skills firefighters could be required to use when called out to an incident.

“The games involve teams of six firefighters competing in drills against the clock, judged for their accuracy, skill and most importantly on how safely they complete these tasks,” he said.

“The tasks for this year’s games are the six-man heavy hose drill, where there are six different tasks to be completed in a 10-minute time frame.

“The second task is the relay pump event where teams have to draft water from a water supply into their light tanker before they can start the rest of the task, which involves running hoses and putting in a dividing breach in to have two lines to knock down the targets.”

Mr Redmond said it relied heavily on communication and hand signals.

“This year we are looking to go hi-tech with a drone streaming the action as it happens to a large outdoor screen,” he said.

It would also be the first year the games would start at noon and finish under floodlights.

“Another first is the games are going to be run in conjunction with a local government bushfire expo where people can come down and get relevant and up-to-date information on how to make their homes and properties safe for the upcoming bushfire season,” he said.

“The growth of the games and expo will lead to better community awareness and give residents an opportunity to come down and get to know the volunteers who put in a lot of their time to protect the communities they live in.

“There will also be plenty of opportunities for the organisations involved to recruit for new members, as well as building inter-agency co-operation for incidents.”

He said they were involving other volunteer groups including SES bushfire brigades, St John Ambulance and Department of Fire and Emergency Services volunteer fire and rescue service.

“Even though these other organisations aren’t competing it gives them an opportunity to come along put up a tent and display and could lead to these organisations getting new members as well,” he said.

There will also be equipment displays, food stalls and rides.

It will open at Hartfield Park Reid Oval at 10.30am on Saturday, September 23, with the games kicking off at noon.