Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
Nestled in the Central Tablelands of New South Wales, a two-hour drive from Sydney and just over the Great Dividing Range, lies the small town of Tarana. It is surrounded by local state forests and important historical sites such as the Jenolan Caves. The Tarana Volunteer Bushfire Brigade protects the Tarana community and surrounding districts from fires that threaten life and land. During the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires, the brigade worked tirelessly at this task.
The Black Summer fires underscored the need for brigades to be ready and prepared for urgent fire defence. However, a review into the fires found that loss of power to brigade sheds affected the ability of emergency services to be as responsive as was needed.
An incident in 2021, where a power pole was damaged near their shed, further highlighted this issue for the Tarana Brigade, as they went without power for several weeks. A small group of volunteers was left to man a generator to keep power going, tying up valuable resources needed elsewhere.
Through the Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) grant program, the Tarana Brigade found a solution to their power problem. Installing a solar powered battery backup system ensured ongoing continuity of their power supply, with the added benefit of producing green energy and reducing operational costs.
Thanks to the generous contribution of a private donor, a $25,000 VESF grant provided the brigade with the certainty of running their fire shed unencumbered: trucks will stay charged, roller doors and fast fill pumps will remain operational, security systems and fridges for crew supplies will continue to run. This means that the Tarana Volunteer Bushfire Brigade will be ready to support their community whenever they are needed.