Although the official opening of the NSW Rural Fire Service’s new fire control centre in Coonabarabran is still weeks away, the state-of-the-art facility was given a trial run recently with an incident management exercise.
Since 20 June, NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) staff have been settling into their new location in the industrial area of town, while the former King Street building has been handed back to Warrumbungle Shire Council.
The $3.6 million project was funded by the RFS through the State Government, along with a contribution from Council.
The innovative construction features:
• large training room and ground to conduct training on site;
• large office space, which will enhance customer service;
• large operation room for future fire campaigns;
• larger store at one location;
• undercover outdoor dining area with kitchen, to cater on site.
Superintendent Corey Philip, district manager Castlereagh Zone, said it was great to be working out of the new centre.
“To try and run what we did with the Sir Ivan bushfire out of the old building, and big campaign fires before that, was inadequate,” Spt Philip said.
“It was too small.
“We were also trying to run the Emergency Operations Centre out of there as well - now there is a designated room for this in the building.
“We will have the room and the area for better coordination and better communications with our ground crews.”
This was put to the test last weekend, when more than 60 members from across the northern region, along with local volunteers, attended an incident management exercise at the new facility.
Spt Philip said it was great opportunity to test the building and ascertain if there were any areas that needed tweaking leading into summer.
“It looks like it will probably be an early start to the season,” he said.
“In the coming August and September, we ask that residents are extremely cautious in using fire as a hazard reduction means.
“We’ve noticed that over the last couple of weeks, with the dry conditions, a few fires have got away from the landowners that were conducting burns.
“It is important that you have adequate fire breaks, and are aware of the conditions and the coming conditions, before using fire as a hazard reduction method.
“Mechanical hazard reduction in mowing, slashing, is the ideal - you must be extremely cautious when using fire on the land as area is so dry.”
While the bushfire danger period commences on 1 October, Spt Philip said there was a possibility that this could be moved forward.
“Landowners need to be prepared heading into summer and they need to get their preparations done soon.”
The NSW Rural Fire Service conducted an incident management exercise at the new fire control centre in Coonabarabran last weekend.