Letter by Ken Houston
I have been a member of the CFA for 18 years, as a volunteer and a career fire fighter in Northern Melbourne.
Since I first joined, I’ve witnessed the CFA struggle to keep up with population growth in Victoria, while the fire boundaries have not changed since the 1890s.
People living in Springvale, Boronia, Dandenong, Eltham, South Morang, Epping, Greenvale, Craigieburn, Caroline Springs, Hoppers Crossing, Point Cook, Rowville, Werribee, Wyndham Vale, and Truganina naturally think that they live in metropolitan suburbs and as such, are serviced by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. They are more than surprised when they learn that they are instead serviced by the CFA because they are still zoned as “country”.
This is what these outdated boundaries mean for people living in these communities. If you have a house fire on the south side of McDonalds Road, Epping, which is in the MFB area, 7 MFB firefighters and 2 trucks will be dispatched. However, if there’s a house fire on the north side, it’s in the CFA area - only four career firefighters from South Morang will be dispatched, and there is no guarantee that a volunteer truck from Epping will respond, or how many crew will be on board if it does.
Victoria’s fire services need to adjust to the times, keep up with urban growth, and provide the service that the community needs and expects.