IT has been an exciting time for the Maffra Fire Brigade, as it recently took delivery of its new rehab unit.
The rehab unit provides firefighter rehabilitation and health monitoring around the Country Fire Authority District 10 and beyond, improving the safety and health of CFA's volunteer firefighters while working in often hot and dangerous conditions.
The rehab unit also provides support to other agencies such as Fire Rescue Victoria, the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Forest Fire Management, Victoria Police and the State Emergency Service.
The new rehab unit, costing $110,000, is owned by the Maffra brigade and was completely funded by donations and fundraising from the Maffra community.
The new vehicle is a replacement for the original brigade-owned vehicle which recently turned 21.
The rehab unit is run by a core group of brigade members and has two distinct but combined functions - firefighter rehabilitation, which includes active cooling and rehydration, and health monitoring of vital signs.
The health monitoring is provided by health professionals, many of them paramedics and nurses who have volunteered and joined CFA.
Having this capability in the district improves the safety of firefighters, allowing them to continue working in arduous conditions.
The rehab unit was most recently deployed at a large structure fire in Longford, where it successfully treated more than 50 firefighters, preventing an estimated 15 of those firefighters from needing additional medical treatment in hospital for heat-related illnesses.
The new, state-of-the-art vehicle carries all the equipment with a crew of four and is one of 20 across the state, working in partnership with the Yallourn North and Paynesville brigade rehab units to cover Gippsland.
People interested in volunteering to become a rehab member can phone the Maffra Fire Brigade on 0438 957 173, or visit www.facebook.com/maffracfa.