Brigade reaches nine decades

Brigade reaches nine decades

The Lakes Entrance Fire Brigade celebrated 90 years of service at its annual presentation dinner on September 7.

The brigade was founded in 1929 with Edward Burke serving as the first captain from 1929-1939.

Harold Broome (1940-1951), Eric Carstairs (1951-1960), William Bills (1960-1975), Norman Gray (1975-1984), Robert Richardson (1984-2004) and Geof Bassett (2004-2018) all took on the head role in the years to follow with Phil Loukes the current captain.

“The brigade was significantly different than what it is today,” Captain Loukes said.

“I have been a member for more than 40 years and there has been a lot of change since I first started.

“We have numerous people go away on strike teams as team leaders, meaning they are in charge of large groups of personnel and trucks.

“We contribute to fighting fires in the areas and interstate. We make a significant contribution locally, but we do also send people out to fight all the major fires.

“Because we do road and steep angle rescues, we were called up to Dargo to assist. The multiagency team that we are on would never have existed in the past.

“We are ever-evolving and ever-changing.”

The brigade has played a crucial role in keeping the community safe since it was founded and fought many blazes at well-known establishments including the Kalimna Hotel, the El Rey Café, the St Brendan’ s Catholic Church, Jimmy’ s Mermaid Fish Shop and the Club Hotel.

More recently the brigade also battled fires at the Metung Bakery and Hendo’ s Café.

It was a busy 2019 for local fire fighters as they attended 146 calls last financial year, 86 as the primary response brigade and 60 in support of other brigade and emergency services.

These calls included grass and scrub fires, structure fires, non-structure fires, strike teams, road crash rescues, steep angle rescues, hazmat events, patient lifts and joint responses with the Lakes Entrance Coast Guard.

During the year, 10 Lakes Entrance Fire Brigade members attained qualification and endorsement for steep angle rescue. They are part of a larger group that forms the multi-agency East Gippsland team for steep angle response.

The members completed a course with instructors from the SES, MFB and CFA all involved.

After completing the training the brigade received steep angle rescue equipment to go along with the newly acquired road rescue equipment.

Brigade members also gave up their time to support community events such as the seven-week CATCH program with local secondary school students, the Royal Children’ s Hospital appeal, a station open day, a road crash forum with year local 11 and 12 students and many more.

PICTURED: The Lakes Entrance Fire Brigade has been keeping the community safe since it was establish 90 years ago in 1929. (PS)