by Tim Carroll
District Manager, NSW Rural Fire Service, Lake George Zone
Bungendore Brigade is one of 22 stations located across the Palerang and Queanbeyan Local Government Areas. These brigades work cooperatively together to provide fire protection to the local community. Additionally the Rural Fire Service has in place agreements with Fire & Rescue NSW and ACT Emergency Services to assist each other in times of need.
The recent Sandhills fire, east of Bungendore, demonstrates the system where additional resources were sourced from adjoining brigades, neighbouring districts and elsewhere around the State and the ACT. Additionally specialist resources including fixed wing aircraft, helicopters and heavy plant were brought in to assist with the fire fighting effort.
Pumper now in a museum
The pumper previously located at Bungendore was one of a number loaned to the Rural Fire Service from the ACT Fire & Rescue when that organisation decommissioned them some years ago. Upon return to the ACT the Bungendore pumper was given to an ACT museum.
With the introduction of breathing apparatus to Bungendore, the opportunity was taken to provide a new village heavy tanker that had a higher water storage capacity and provided greater versatility to fight structure fires both within village or outside the village in areas where reticulated water is not available. The tanker also has off-road capabilities for use in accessing rural properties and or fighting bushfires.
Where the Bungendore tankers have been sent out of the village in the past a unit from a surrounding brigade has been stood up in the village.
Within the Palerang Local Government Area there are currently 55 tankers including 25 heavy, 23 medium and seven light tankers. Thirty of these are under 15 years and the rest are aged between 16 to 30 years. Over the last decade, the Rural Fire Service has worked to modernise equipment including trucks and has introduced new equipment including the introduction of breathing apparatus to four brigades within the area.