Bridgetown’s Fire control officer, Ed Bland, at the brigade’s fire station
Bridgetown has enjoyed a wetter than average winter this year and with that goes higher fuel loads and a slightly higher danger of bush fires, but as long as people “behave themselves” we should all be fine, according to Bridgetown’s fire control officer, Ed Bland.
When the weather gets hot, however, the danger climbs along with the temperature.
“When mother nature decides right, I’m gonna have some fun, well it’s on for one and all, the whole countryside is affected then,” Mr Bland said.
He thinks that education is a vital key to reducing bushfire risks and that generally Bridgetown people are pretty good.
With 55 years of bush fire experience behind him Mr Bland really ought to know.
As the brigade’s Intel officer he’s always one of the first on the scene at bushfires assessing the situation and what’s needed to fight it.
“You could probably call it the first responder. I’m gone before the trucks get there to see what it is, to see where it is, what’s been impacted, do we need more resources, do we need dozers or do we need machinery?” he said.
“It keeps you on your toes.”
With 50-odd registered volunteers including firefighters, radio operators and people providing transport and meals, the brigade is well prepared for summer.
In the next few weeks the brigade’s headquarters in Les Woodhead Avenue will be set up and ready for action should an incident occur.
It can take a couple of years to fully train a volunteer firefighter with 90 per cent of that training taking place locally.
Mr Bland said the brigade is organised and ready to go, with most volunteers training once a fortnight or once a month just to keep their skills up.
While the Bridgetown brigade is well supplied with volunteers, some of the Shire’s nine other brigades could do with a few more, he said.
He has a message for Bridgetown people this summer.
“Take care. If you see something you’re not sure about just ring 000 and we’ll get onto it. Be aware of what’s out there, check your surroundings and just make sure your property is clean and tidy,” he said.