ELMHURST - The Elmhurst fire brigade has taken possession of a new ultra-light vehicle.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said the vehicle would boost efforts by the brigade to protect lives and property in the Pyrenees region.
"The Pyrenees Ranges are a popular destination in summer but the region contains significant fire risks due to the rough terrain and fuel loads, so this tanker will significantly increase the brigade's ability to protect both visitors and locals," Mr Wells said.
The vehicle was purchased using funding from the Coalition Government, the Wimmera Hills Winery, the Sporting Shooters' Association of Victoria and the Elmhurst brigade itself.
"The Coalition Government has made more than $72,000 available for the Elmhurst brigade to buy this vehicle through the Victorian Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP)," Mr Wells said.
"The VESEP funding supports the crucial role of local volunteer groups in protecting lives and property by providing vital equipment specifically suited to volunteers' needs.
"The brigade have also done an excellent job by raising an incredible $17,333 within the local community, while the Wimmera Hills Winery contributed $10,000 and the Sporting Shooters' Association of Australia donated $8,000," Mr Wells said.
The Wimmera Hills Winery bottled an exclusive 'Fire Engine Red' which was sold to the community by brigade members,.
Parliamentary Secretary for Police and Emergency Services David Southwick handed over the $107,667 Nissan Patrol ultra-light vehicle in Elmhurst.
"The ultra light vehicle is designed to be used as the first attack on fires burning in remote or steep terrain as well as in patrol and mopping up operations," he said.
"The ultra-light tanker carries 550 litres of water and is equipped with a diesel powered pump, sirens and emergency lights, a foam system and a CFA radio."
During the handover of the new vehicle, 40 volunteers were recognised, some who have been with the brigade for as long as 50 years.
Fifty year service medals were presented to Doug Boatman and Michael Green, a 45 year medal to Bob Greene, 40 year medals to Doug Keith, Alan Peacock and David Price, a 35 year medal to John Rivett, 30 year medals to Donald Milne, Tony Westerhoff and Graeme Preston, 25 year medals to Benjamin Greene, Jacy Keith, Johnathan Keith and Geoff Penna, 10 year medals to Benjamin Baker, Josh Greene, Claire Keith and Corey Price and five year certificates to Sarah Keith, Gerard Van Oosten and Wendy Van Oosten.
Doug Boatman, a 50 year medal recipient, gave an account of the brigade detailing the communications, captaincy, secretarial and appliance history.
Since the inception of the brigade a total of 286 firefighters had been recorded as volunteering service, with current brigade membership being 56.
Except for one member, all of the past living captains attended the presentation of awards.
Mr Southwick said that in 2013-14, the Victorian Government was supporting the state's emergency services volunteers with a record $12.23 million in VESEP grants, for the acquisition of emergency services vehicles, operational equipment and amenities upgrades.
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