Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton incident centre on alert

Country Fire Authority members spent New Year's Day establishing an incident control centre for yesterday's total fire ban.

JARROD WHITTAKER January 2, 2014 6:21am

The CFA have established an incident control centre for yesterday's total fire ban.

While revellers across City of Greater Shepparton spent yesterday recovering from Tuesday night’s festivities, there was no let-up for the city’s emergency services personnel.

With yesterday declared a day of total fire ban, Country Fire Authority firefighters were busy establishing an incident control centre.

The centre was established at CFA District 22 headquarters on Numurkah Rd, Shepparton.

CFA District 22 acting operations officer Rob Van Dorsser said the decision to establish the centre was based on a range of factors in a bid to improve preparedness.

‘‘Predominantly it’s based on weather and some of the indices in the weather,’’ Mr Van Dorsser said.

‘‘Some of the contributing factors are temperature, low humidity and strong winds.

‘‘When it reaches certain triggers we have to put people in our incident control centre so that we can manage the incident as it escalates and we’ve got people ready to go.’’

About 10 people crewed the centre yesterday.

Mr Van Dorsser said minor incidents were handled at a local level, but if an event escalated, it was handed over to the incident control centre.

He said during a large incident, the centre served a range of functions.

‘‘The facilities it gives us are overall management of the incident — not just looking at the fire,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve got a lot of responsibility in relation to warnings and advice — considering evacuations, properties at risk, aircraft.

‘‘We need to feed our firefighters, make sure they’ve got the right gear, getting fuel for trucks, anything else we might need.’’

He said crewing the centre allowed for a range of expertise to be pooled in the one location.

‘‘We have warnings and advice people, we’ve got operations people — people fighting the fire — and aircraft people,’’ Mr Van Dorsser said.

Mr Van Dorsser said the centre also served a planning function, with people looking at what was in the fire’s path. He said planning also involved predicting what the fire would do during the proceeding two to six hours.

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