Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal

12 Volunteer Emergency Services organisations awarded more than $190,000 in grants

Twelve volunteer emergency services organisations supporting remote, rural and regional communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires have been awarded $191,628 in grants for projects that will assist in their disaster recovery efforts and strengthen their emergency response capabilities for future disasters.

HEADING: First-responders receive a Black Summer recovery boost. IMAGE: Kangarilla CFS in South Australia.

Funded through FRRR’s Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program, generously supported by a private donor, the funding supports local volunteer emergency services and first-responder organisations in eligible fire-affected communities across New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, and Victoria.

The grants range from $2,996 to provide a rural fire service brigade with wet weather personal protection equipment, to $25,000 for equipment to maintain low bushfire fuel loads in a high risk area.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that the VESF program was important for dedicating funding to local initiatives that are a priority of volunteer first-responders.

“Programs like this are vital for fire-affected communities to ensure long-term resilience and preparedness. In this round, we saw requests for support to purchase and upgrade emergency equipment, technology and communications systems, as well as wellbeing activities. With funding provided for the purchase of emergency support vehicles, personal protection equipment and maintenance equipment, these organisations are now better placed to save lives.

“While this is the last round of grants through the VESF program, it has allowed us to learn more about what these groups need and respond effectively. It has bolstered the response capacity of many organisations and FRRR have built new connections in communities with whom we look forward to continuing to work with through their long term recovery. FRRR’s Strengthening Rural Communities program continues to offer bushfire recovery grant opportunities,” Ms Egleton said.

Some of the projects funded this round include:

  • Burragate Rural Fire Service, NSW – Roof insulation for Burragate fire shed – $23,710 – Boost volunteer vitality and comfort while reducing the carbon footprint of the Burragate Fire brigade through the installation of foam insulation at the fire shed.
  • Far South Coast Rural Fire Service, NSW – Fire Shed Friday’s – $20,026 – Boost volunteer vitality and general wellbeing with the provision of Fire Shed Friday activities in four impacted communities.
  • The Caves Rural Fire Brigade, QLD – New Storage Shed Project – $19,303 – Enhance operational activities and emergency response times with the provision of a storage shed for The Caves Rural Fire Brigade.
  • Mt Lofty Group Operations Support Brigade, SA – Enhancing Mount Lofty CFS Group Operations Brigade Communications for Critical Incidents and Community Preparedness – $23,577 – Upgrade technology and increase access to support volunteer development and learning and organisational operations.
  • Ensay Fire Brigade, VIC – An Ultralight Vehicle (ULV) for Tambo Crossing – $21,000 – Support emergency response activities by contributing to the purchase of an emergency response ultra-light vehicle for Tambo Crossing community.

For more information, visit FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Braunstone Rural Fire BrigadeCommunication, IT and Facility Enhancement - Braunstone Rural Fire Brigade
Increase technology capability, security, and general maintenance of equipment at the Braunstone Rural Fire Brigade.
Braunstone $11,325
Burragate Rural Fire ServiceRoof Insulation for Burragate Fire Shed
Boost volunteer vitality and comfort while reducing the carbon footprint of the Burragate Fire brigade with the installation of foam insulation at the fire shed.
Burragate $23,710
Far South Coast
NSW Rural Fire Service

Fire Shed Friday's
Boost volunteer vitality and general wellbeing with the provision of Fire Shed Friday activities in four impacted communities.

Eden $20,026
Grafton City Rural BrigadeLockers for Brigade Members & Gazebo for Community Engagement
Support emergency response volunteers with the provision of lockers and a temporary gazebo for the Grafton Rural Fire Brigade.
South Grafton $8,030
Iluka Rural Fire ServiceFirst Response Evacuation Resources- Iluka
Support emergency preparedness with the provision of furnishings to meet evacuation needs and appropriate storage facilities for Iluka Fire Brigade.
Iluka $22,342
Johns River Rural Fire ServiceSupporting and Protecting Our First Responders
Boost the vitality of volunteers through the provision of wet weather personal protection equipment for members of the Johns River RFS.
Johns River $2,996
Wallaby Joe Rural Fire ServiceWallaby Joe Operational Equipment Procurement
Boost volunteer vitality with the provision of wet weather gear, helmet torches and emergency flares for use during community emergencies.
Wingham $7,213
QUEENSLAND
Aratula Rural Fires BrigadeAratula Multi Purpose Vehicle
Increase the capacity and capability of local volunteer Fire Brigade to support response during disasters by contributing to the purchase of a support vehicle.
Aratula $7,106
The Caves Rural Fire Brigade
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
New Storage Shed Project
Boost operational activities and emergency response times with the provision of a storage shed for The Caves Rural Fire Brigade.
The Caves $19.303
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Mt Lofty Group Operations Support Brigade
Mt Lofty CFS Group
Enhancing Mount Lofty CFS Group Operations Brigade Communications for Critical Incidents and Community Preparedness
Upgrade technology and increase access to support volunteer development and learning and organisational operations.
Bridgewater $23,577
VICTORIA
Ensay Fire Brigade Country Fire AuthorityAn ULT (Ultralight Vehicle) for Tambo Crossing
Support emergency response activities by contributing to the purchase of an emergency response Ultra-Light vehicle for Tambo Crossing community.
Ensay / Tambo Crossing $21,000
Old Tallangatta Fire Brigade Country Fire AuthorityMaintaining a Low Fuel Load Location for the Old Tallangatta Community
Increase volunteer vitality with the provision of a ride on mower, brush cutter and concrete pad to support maintaining a low bushfire fuel load.
Old Tallangatta $25,000

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.

First responder organisations encouraged to apply for funding to strengthen their emergency response capabilities

FRRR is encouraging eligible groups to apply to its Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program to support local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in communities affected by the 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires.

HEADING: Grants available for Volunteer Emergency Services in Black Summer impacted areas
IMAGE: Tionee Rural Fire Brigade

Thanks to the generous contribution of a private donor, grants of up to $25,000 are available to strengthen local emergency response capabilities, based on identified community need and priorities, including to support volunteers’ wellbeing and mental health.

The VESF grants are available to local volunteer emergency services groups and first responder organisations in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Danielle Griffin, FRRR’s Philanthropic Services Manager – Corporate, said that funding from this grant program had already provided much-needed support, funding 54 projects across 66 communities.

“We have seen local groups upgrade their equipment and infrastructure, improve their service to communities and enhance support for their volunteers.

“This funding is a timely reminder that these communities need continued support and investment. The funding will contribute to remote, rural and regional communities’ confidence in the capacity and capability of their local volunteer first responder and emergency services groups to implement solutions for adapting to changing conditions and planning for future disasters. The volunteers themselves are critical to these outcomes and we encourage projects that build not only the skills of this unpaid workforce but wellbeing support to sustain their efforts.

“Many of these communities have endured multiple disasters in recent years, including the current floods. We encourage any groups impacted by the Black Summer fires who are also affected by recent flooding to get in touch and discuss their needs so we can support applications being developed in these difficult conditions,” Ms Griffin said.

The VESF grant program is now open. Applications close 5pm AEST 28 April 2022, with grants to be announced in July 2022. You can find out more about the program at: https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/  

35 first-responder organisations awarded grants

Thirty-five volunteer emergency services organisations supporting remote, rural and regional communities impacted by the 2019/20 bushfires are sharing $447,323 in grants for projects that will assist in their recovery and strengthen their emergency response capabilities ahead of the 2021/22 bushfire season.

Volunteer Emergency Services given Black Summer recovery boost ahead of fire season

Funded through FRRR’s Volunteer Emergency Services Fund (VESF) program, thanks to a generous private donor, grants range from $2,232 to maintain fire-crew hydration through the installation of a car fridge, to $25,000 to increase access to life saving equipment with the purchase

The VESF supports the ongoing bushfire recovery and preparedness taking place in eligible fire-affected communities across the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia, Tasmania and Victoria.

Natalie Egleton, FRRR’s CEO, said that these grants will support rural communities and protect the volunteers who are leading the path to recovery.

“Programs like this are crucial to the long-term resilience of these communities. Providing the necessary resources and support for these volunteers will not only bolster the preparedness of these fire-affected areas but will also enable our volunteers to recover, both physically and mentally, as they continue to serve rural Australia in the safest and most effective ways possible.

“In this round, we saw a lot of requests for support in purchasing and upgrading emergency equipment. Whether it’s additional firefighting trailers, community emergency messaging systems or emergency medical equipment, these organisations will be better equipped to save lives,” says Ms Egleton.

Some of the projects funded this round include:

  • Wantagong Bushfire Brigade, NSW – Firefighting trailer and PMR Handheld Radio – $16,188 – Increase firefighting capacity with the provision of an additional tanker trailer and a handheld radio.
  • Flinders Peak Rural Fire Brigade, QLD – Flinders Peak Station Security & Access Control – $13,682 – Improve facility access and security for local fire and SES organisations by installing a new integrated security and roller door system.
  • Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network, SA – Fire Awareness Session and 4WD training – $5,580 – Build capability and equip a local wildlife organisation to operate effectively in a disaster with fire awareness and 4WD training, and new disaster response equipment.
  • Wendoree Park Rural Fire Service, VIC – Wendoree Park Rural Fire Station Generator – $19,854 -Increase emergency power supply capability with the installation of an emergency backup generator ensuring continued access to power supply during emergencies.
  • St John Ambulance Australia (Vic) Inc, Vic – Mental Health, Crisis and resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events – $14,250 – Boost first responder wellbeing by delivering Mental Health, Crisis and Resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events.

For more information, visit FRRR’s website – https://frrr.org.au/volunteer-emergency-services-fund-grant-program/. The next, and last, round of this program is expected to open in February, but details will be confirmed in the new year.

The full list of grant recipients and their projects are below.

OrganisationProjectLocationGrant
NEW SOUTH WALES
Bumbalong Valley Progress AssociationBumbalong Community Fire Unit 2021-2022
Strengthen emergency fire response capacity and communication with the provision of smaller mobile water storage solutions, pumps, hoses and radio equipment.
Bumbalong$19,301
Gulgong DC Rural Fire Brigade Going Digital - A New Age for Gulgong DC RFB
Enhance training and communications equipment by upgrading digital equipment to enhance operations.
Gulgong$25,000
Long Flat / Ellenborough Rural Fire BrigadeKitchen Upgrade
Improve kitchen facilities at the local RFS site to provide volunteers and community members with disability access and conditions to support serving safe, healthy food during disaster activations.
Long Flat$20,503
Narara Rural Fire BrigadeRefurbishment After 2019/20 Fires
Increase brigade visibility and emergency communication by providing additional lighting towers, torches and fireground radios for use during emergency response activities.
Narara$15,572
RFS - Central Coast District Captain, Central Coast Trail Bike Unit Enclosed Trail Bike Trailer for Rapid and Efficient Deployment
Build organisational capacity with an additional trailer for transporting bikes increasing operational effectiveness.
Kariong$18,244
RFS - Blackheath Mt Victoria Rural Fire Brigade Operational & Technology Capability Enhancements
Enhance emergency response capability to provide volunteers with an appropriately appointed facility including turn out bay roller doors, air conditioning, technology upgrades and hose drying equipment.
Blackheath$19,641
RFS - Mount Fairy Rural Fire BrigadeStation Upgrade & Fit-Out
Boost operational capacity and response capability by fitting out the facilities extension including training, kitchen and laundry areas.
Mount Fairy$23,552
St John Ambulance Australia (N.S.W.)St John Ambulance Northern NSW Defibrillator Project
Increase access to life saving equipment by providing Defibrillators for northern NSW communities impacted by Black Summer bushfires.
Armidale, Tamworth, Cessnock & Port Macquarie$25,000
Towamba Rural Fire BrigadeCapital Equipment for Fire Shed
Strengthen volunteer vitality by upgrading Fire Brigade facilities to support efficient emergency response activities including attachment of the generator, lockers and training space.
Towamba$10,500
Volunteer Marine Rescue NSW Marine Rescue Bermagui Base Refurbishment
Upgrade the facilities of Marine Rescue Bermagui to improve operations for radio communications, training and power loss risk mitigation.
Bermagui$24,933
Wantagong Bushfire Brigade Fire Fighting Trailer and PMR Handheld Radio
Increase fire fighting capacity with the provision of an additional tanker trailer and a hand held radio.
Wantagong$16,188
Wendoree Park Rural Fire ServiceWendoree Park Rural Fire Station Generator
Increase emergency power supply capability with the installation of an emergency backup generator ensuring continued access to power supply during emergencies.
Wendoree Park$19,854
Bega District Volunteer Rescue Group IncorporatedBattery Operated Rescue Tools and Associated Equipment
Strengthen organisational capacity by providing battery, charger pack and charger chords for power tools used in emergency response activities.
Bega Valley$3,482
Midcoast Aviation BrigadeMidcoast Aviation Airbase Support Equipment
Increase organisational capabilities in the field and support volunteers safety from the sun with the provision of a heavy duty gazebo and all terrain pallet jack.
Taree, Forster, Tuncurry, Wingham & Old Bar$5,007
RFS - Berkeley Vale Rural Fire Brigade IncorporatedBattery Operated Rescue Tools and Associated Equipment
Enhance emergency response activities by providing hand held radio's, updated GPS units and a backpack resuscitator enhancing community safety.
Berkeley Vale & Broader Central Coast $5,822
RFS - Bredbo Rural Fire BrigadeImproving First-Aid Capability
Increase volunteer skills and knowledge and capacity to respond to local emergencies with training in first aid and CPR and by providing first aid and snake bite kits for the Bredbo Rural Fire Brigade.
Bredbo$3,860
RFS - Buxton Volunteer Fire BrigadeBreathing Apparatus Cleaning Requirements, PPE and First Aid Supplies
Strengthen the ability of volunteers to respond to emergencies by purchasing a hot water system and washing machine to wash members breathing apparatus, uniforms and personal protective equipment and providing PPE and first aid kit supplies.
Buxton$9,150
RFS - Colinton Rural Fire BrigadePurchase of an Automated Emergency Defibrillator (AED) for the Training Room, and Training to Use
Strengthen ability and skills to respond to sudden cardiac arrests in the community by purchasing an Automated Emergency Defibrillator for the Brigade training room and provide training for Brigade members and community members in its use.
Colinton$2,650
RFS - Wollondibby Fire Brigade Wollondibby Bushfire Brigade Emergency Power Supply
Ensure continuous power supply for an Emergency Power Supply for the Wollondibby Fire Shed by way of a backup Generator.
Jindabyne & Crackenback$4,525
RFS - Wyee Point Rural Fire BrigadeCommunity Awareness Notice Board and Online Training Television
Boost community emergency messaging and volunteer training capabilities with the provision of a Community Notice Board and television for the Wyee Point RFB.
Wyee Point$5,000
Rylstone Kandos & District Volunteer Search and Rescue Organisation Inc Defibrillator Upgrade
Increase community safety with the provision of defibrillators to be housed at the Rescue Complex.
Rylstone & Kandos$7,485
QUEENSLAND
Flinders Peak Rural Fire BrigadeFlinders Peak Station Security & Access Control
Improve facility access and security for local fire and SES organisations by installing a new integrated security and roller door system.
Peak Crossing$13,862
SOUTH AUSTRALIA
Kangaroo Island Wildlife Network Fire Awareness Session and 4WD Training
Build capability and equip a local wildlife organisation to operate effectively in a disaster with fire awareness and 4WD training, and new disaster response equipment.
Kingscote$5,580
Mawson CFS GroupThermal Imaging Camera for Community Safety
Improve firefighting equipment to enhance operational effectiveness and safety through a Thermal imaging camera that assists with thorough management of fires on site, reduces volunteer risk in smoke filled environments.
Clarendon, Happy Valley, Kangarilla & Chandlers Hill$2,525
Mount Barker SES Unit Emergency Response Equipment
Strengthen volunteer emergency response capability by providing additional trauma and emergency medical treatment kits and a lifting bridle to support patient emergency treatment and evacuation.
Mount Barker, Woodside & Brukunga$3,885
VICTORIA
CFA - Violet Town Country Fire ServiceSafe Powered Haven for the Violet Town Community
Ensure constant power supply during emergency events and mains power outages with the provision of a diesel generator ensuring access to Emergency response facilities during power outages.
Violet Town$19,592
CFA - Nagambie Country Fire ServiceCommunity Emergency Information
Enhance community emergency messaging with a LED display board to be placed in the towns main thoroughfare for year round use, particularly during emergency events.
Nagambie$13,000
St John Ambulance Australia (Vic) IncMental Health, Crisis and Resilience Training for Volunteers Deployed to Bushfire Events
Boost first responder wellbeing by delivering Mental Health, Crisis and Resilience training for volunteers deployed to bushfire events.
Wodonga, Sale, Bairnsdale & Regional Victorian Divisions$14,250
Upper Murray Innovation Foundation - Thowgla Community Recovery Committee (CRC) Thowgla Valley Fire Preparedness Project
Strengthen emergency response capacity and increase emergency activity communication by providing additional fire fighting trailers and hand held radios.
Thowgla Valley$22,928
Victoria State Emergency Service Authority - Wodonga Unit Update the Computer Hardware and Accessories at the Wodonga Unit
Increase organisational capacity with the provision of upgraded IT equipment, software and accessories.
Wodonga$19,957
Victoria State Emergency Service - Bairnsdale Unit Enhancing Response Capability
Build operational capacity through battery and charger equipment to support portability of battery powered emergency equipment.
Bairnsdale$25,000
Victoria State Emergency Service Yackandandah UnitResilient Emergency Services in Yackandandah - Phase 3
Increase consistency of power supply with the provision of a diesel generator ensuring access to back up power during emergency response periods.
Yackandandah$13,176
CFA - Killawarra Country Fire Service Cool Under Pressure
Improve volunteer safety and wellbeing with the installation of a car fridge on the fighting tanker to maintain crew hydration.
Killawarra$2,232
CFA - Ruffy Country Fire ServiceFire Truck Driver Refresher Training
Support emergency response safety with the delivery of volunteer driver training for members of the Ruffy Fire Brigade.
Ruffy$3,600
CFA- Upton Hill Country Fire ServiceIT for Upton Hill to Boost Volunteerism and Volunteer Retention
Boost organisational capacity by providing IT equipment supporting the day to operations and completion of administration functions for volunteers.
Upton Hill$2,467