Victorian facility boosts emergency training

By Paul Hemsley

Emergency services training in Victoria will be improved from the building of a specialised firefighting training facility.

The Victorian Government will fund $109 million for the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB) training facility in Graigieburn in the City of Hume local government area, providing skills to firefighters and other emergency personnel to face ‘complex incidents’.

Major Projects Victoria will partner with MFB to build the facility due for operation in 2014, which will include environmental design initiatives to increase resource sustainability and lower environmental effects.

Until recently, the subject site had been used as a caravan park until it was purchased by the MFB.

Following the purchase, land rezoning was required for the facility, which required direct consultation between the City of Hume and the Department of Sustainability.

State Planning Services and Urban Development acting executive director, Jane Monk said this facility will improve public confidence in the MFB and consolidate its position as a 'pre-eminent' emergency response organisation.

“The redevelopment of the land is considered a project of state significance as it provides for a facility which benefits the State of Victoria and makes provision for important community infrastructure,” Ms Monk said.

Minister for Major Projects, Denis Napthine said the facility will challenge firefighters with ‘realistic’ emergency scenarios tailored to Melbourne’s urban landscape.

These landscape characteristics include laneways, rail tunnels and tram stops.

Dr Napthine said the facility will meet the MFB’s current and future training needs and allow it to deliver specialist emergence services.

Included in the services are firefighting, urban search, rescue, marine response, emergency medical response and hazardous material response, Dr Napthine said.

"Training in real life hazard scenarios means better prepared firefighters, and better prepared firefighters mean a safer community," Dr Napthine said.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Peter Ryan said the local City of Hume community will benefit from the increased activity in the area.

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