THE Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will be able to respond to emergencies faster after opening a new base in Kewdale.
The State Wide Operational Response Division (SWORD) brings together canine, mounted, volunteer firefighters, State Emergency Service, logistics and communications units.
SWORD district officer Mark Feast said there were several advantages to bringing all the units together.
“We had six brigades and units scattered around the metro area but combining everyone into the facility, it reduces costs,” he said.
“It becomes easier to respond to emergencies, whether there is a fire, or a land search to conduct.
“Kewdale is a great location for the facility, we are near Leach Highway and Roe Highway, Orrong Road, the airport and rail as well; it’s a great logistical base that allows us to mobilise quickly.”
The facility was opened on November 1, after each of the units moved in gradually following a handover on September 15.
Vehicles and equipment from each of the units are stored at the facility, which also includes training rooms and administration facilities.
Mr Feast said DFES was still in a period of rationalising the equipment that each unit owned.
“There are about 175 volunteers who will use the facility but once we are fully consolidated here, we are hoping to bring that up to 300 volunteers by the end of 2018,” he said.
“Volunteers will be able to do training and exercises at the SWORD, a facility like this is pretty standard over east but it’s something new for WA.
“There were no renovations required apart from removing some of the old racks and the owner left some furniture, which we have been able to use.”