Ready for emer­gency


Southern Gazette (Belmont) - - FRONT PAGE - Aaron Cor­lett

THE De­part­ment of Fire and Emer­gency Ser­vices ex­pects to be able to re­spond to emer­gen­cies quicker af­ter open­ing a new base in Kew­dale.

The State Wide Op­er­a­tional Re­sponse Di­vi­sion (SWORD) brings to­gether ca­nine, mounted, vol­un­teer fire fight­ers, State Emer­gency Ser­vice, lo­gis­tics and com­mu­ni­ca­tions units.

SWORD dis­trict of­fi­cer Mark Feast said there were many ad­van­tages to bring­ing the units to­gether.

“We had six brigades and units scat­tered around the metro area but com­bin­ing ev­ery­one into the fa­cil­ity re­duces costs,” he said.

“It be­comes eas­ier to re­spond to emer­gen­cies, whether there is a fire or a land search to con­duct.

“Kew­dale is a great lo­ca­tion for the fa­cil­ity; we are near Leach High­way and Roe High­way, Or­rong Road, the air­port and rail as well. It’s a great lo­gis­ti­cal base that al­lows us to mo­bilise quickly.”

The fa­cil­ity was of­fi­cially opened on Novem­ber 1, af­ter each of the units moved in grad­u­ally fol­low­ing a han­dover on Septem­ber 15. Ve­hi­cles and equip­ment from each of the units are stored at the fa­cil­ity, which also in­cludes train­ing rooms and ad­min­is­tra­tion fa­cil­i­ties.

Mr Feast said DFES was still ra­tio­nal­is­ing the equip­ment that each unit owned.

“There are about 175 vol­un­teers who will use the fa­cil­ity but once we are fully con­sol­i­dated here, we are hoping to bring that up to 300 vol­un­teers by the end of 2018,” he said.

“A fa­cil­ity like this is pretty stan­dard over east but it’s some­thing new for WA.”

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