Fired up to bring in changes

March 10, 2018

District 22 operations officer Pete Dedman, Shepparton East CFA 1st lieutenant Geoff Fleming, member Dean Marsland, captain Matthew Dwyer, community safety coordinator Emily Marsland and secretary/treasurer Louis D'Amore.

Since it opened its doors almost 27 years ago, Shepparton East fire station has been a hive of activity.

But its members and equipment have outgrown the dated station, with major improvements needed in order to attract new members and maintain their service to the community.

Shepparton East captain Matthew Dwyer said the brigade had a 39-year history dating back to its first meeting in 1978, thanks to the Shepparton East Progress Association.

‘‘We were registered as an official brigade in 1979,’’ he said.

Mr Dwyer said the shed had not changed at all since it opened.

‘‘There are a number of stations around this vintage and at the time they were state-of-the-art,’’ CFA District 22 operations officer Pete Dedman said.

‘‘The facilities, although they’re okay, they need to be changed to attract new members.’’

Mr Dedman said the changes were about inclusivity and fairness.

‘‘Currently there’s only one change area,’’ he said, and added this made changing into fire gear difficult for female members.

‘‘We’ve got a few females in the brigade and have just had a new one sign up,’’ Mr Dwyer said.

Long-time member Emily Marsland, who has been with the CFA for 15 years, had seen an increase in female membership over time.

‘‘There’s no barriers,’’ she said.

‘‘Come along; there’s no difference between what we can do and what the men can do.’’

Mrs Marsland said Shepparton East had welcomed her with open arms and she had risen to the ranks to be the third-most qualified in the brigade.

The station also requires a new bi-fold door to enable the now taller trucks to fit inside with ease as well as a larger meeting room and kitchen.

The brigade applied for funding under the CFA enhancing volunteerism grants program and Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell had called on the Victorian Government to fund the renovations and extension via a constituency question.

‘‘These renovations will assist in growing the brigade as well as help the members continue their great work,’’ she said.

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