by John Robertson
The Brigade got back to training on Wednesday 6th February and the training strategy for the year was introduced. It starts with competency requalification for those with FM1 and its basis is the admirable competency test created by Steve when he was TM1. This has been adopted as standard throughout the Beaudesert Group. The method of individual requalification has changed. This is now done on the basis of the items covered on a training evening. Jenny has produced detailed forms for every firefighter. The forms remain at the Station and each item of competency from Steve’s test is ticked off after the member has covered it on a training evening. It will take to about the end of March to complete the entire competency for those members whose attendance is 100% over that period.
On the 6th we did a very thorough check of the trucks. This covered the standard maintenance lists and included running each chainsaw, each mobile pump and each radio. On the 13th at the Station we did comprehensive pump and hose drills including hose splicing, Case 4 and mobile pump operation using all three trucks.
By the 20th we had gained four new members – Brodie, Mal, Wilks and Jason – who promise to be most valuable additions to our strength. We also welcomed back Emma on completion of her Diploma courses. While TM1 was putting the new members through the induction process Paul took the rest of us through radio procedures. That done, each truck with its crew went to a designated Mountain location using the radios to the full. This included UHF, VHF, Firecom SE, Station radio, inter-truck radio and using a forestry channel both direct to the Station and relaying via the Base radio at Jenny’s home. This went very well but we were reminded that two-way communication is not reliable if one of the transmitting stations is on SCAN. For dependable communication both stations must be set on a single frequency.
The weather so far this year has been such that even a dedicated arsonist could not start a bush fire with a flame thrower. But all this rain means massive growth which in turn will die off and accumulate until another dry spell sets in. Then it will get exciting!