The Dixon Road-based Fire and Rescue Service ” paid employees trained to handle structure fires, unlike bushfire brigade volunteers ” are 12 minutes from the furthest part of Baldivis, three minutes outside the Department of Fire and Emergency Services’ own accepted response time of nine minutes.
However, the response time doesn’t violate guidelines because despite a population of 16,629 in 2011, Baldivis and Karnup are not gazetted in the DFES ‘metropolitan’ category.
Baldivis Volunteer Bushfire Brigade and the City are responsible for fighting fires in Baldivis.
A report for council said DFES planned to buy land south of Rockingham in 2014-15 to build a new career station in 2015-16, subject to Treasury funding.
DFES could not assure the funds would be included in annual budgets due to ‘shifting priorities’.
‘(How) long this level of service from Rockingham Fire and Rescue Service will be adequate is of concern,’ the report said.
‘In the event that the FRS is delayed or if the VBFB’s resources are stretched due to other emergency incidents, it may result in a catastrophic event where there is loss of life and/or significant damage to property.’
DFES won’t tell the City of Rockingham what the ‘trigger points’ are for changing services to an area, and ‘attempts to illicit this information from DFES have been met with reluctance’.
Metropolitan Superintendent Michael Jose told the Courier DFES had had informal discussions with the City about increasing the Baldivis volunteer units’ responsibilities for structural fire management.
They have also discussed including Baldivis in the Metropolitan Fire District.
He said talks to find a final recommendation for the Emergency Services Minister were continuing.