Firefighting equipment and techniques from Victoria’s gold-rush era are taking centre stage during Fire Action Week.
Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett today visited the historic display at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, where local CFA members donned 1850s gear to show how their predecessors fought fires 150 years ago.
Horse-drawn carriages and manual water pumps demonstrated how firefighting has evolved since the 19th century, with the interactive history lesson highlighting CFA’s longstanding commitment to protecting Victorians during emergencies.
Visitors had the opportunity to talk to CFA District 15 representatives about their preparations for the fire season, with predictions of a long, hot summer increasing the risk of bush, scrub and grassfires.
All CFA members have free access to Sovereign Hill until the end of the week, as a thank you for the daily presentations.
Fire Action Week (1-8 November) is Victoria’s annual fire planning week and it was brought forward this year following predictions of a long, hot and dry season.
So far this season, emergency crews have responded to more than 1000 fires across the state, including 385 bush, scrub and grassfires in just one week in early October.
In 2014-15, emergency services responded to around 4,250 bush and grass fires.
For those living near bush or grassland leaving early is the safest option on a high-risk fire day.
The display at Sovereign Hill will take place at 1pm throughout Fire Action Week. CFA members are also being offered free entry into Sovereign Hill between 1 - 8 November, upon presentation of their member ID card. Family members can also receive a 10 per cent discount if they are attending with a CFA member.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Emergency Services Jane Garrett
“With a long, hot summer season ahead, we made the decision to bring forward Fire Action Week to make sure all Victorians are preparing now.”
“Firefighting techniques have changed a lot since the gold rush, but what has remained constant is the bravery and determination of our firefighters to protect Victorians during emergencies.”
“This fantastic, interactive CFA display is a great way to encourage people to think about their own fire preparations ahead of the summer.”
Reviewed 19 August 2020