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United effort brings fire services hub

United effort brings fire services hub

Unique cooperation between Council and the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) is helping entrench Armidale as a regional epicentre for rural fire protection services.

Council has worked closely with local NSW RFS heads to help plan and design a new facility for the service’s Logistics Brigade. Currently under construction, the $550,000 complex is Phase 2 of a multi-million-dollar NSW RFS development at Armidale Regional Airport and will house the brigade’s vehicles and equipment.

“Council’s assistance in creating the designs, getting the necessary approvals and undertaking much of the physical work has been invaluable in bringing the project together,” NSW RFS Superintendent Steve Mepham said.

“This is a first in the way the RFS and local government can work together to bring much-needed emergency service facilities for regional communities.

“This new facility, and planned additional stages for the airport site, will provide operational and training support for brigades throughout the New England region and beyond.”

Council and RFS officials joined the NSW Member for Northern Tablelands, Adam Marshall, at the site yesterday to inspect progress on the building’s construction and to announce the airport site will also include a new winch simulator training facility.

Mr Marshall has liaised with NSW Government and senior RFS officers to back local RFS efforts to get the new facilities in Armidale.

The Remote Area Fire Team (RAFT) Winch Simulator will be one of only four in regional NSW, training RFS personnel  to use helicopter winches for rescues or to deliver firefighting crews to sites that are difficult to access.

Mr Mepham said: “The Logistics Brigade building, scheduled for completion in November, the simulator facility and the adjacent airbase constructed during Phase 1 represent a total investment of $2 million at the Armidale airbase.

“Funding is also being sought for another $5.7 million to build a new Fire Control Centre at the airbase, on land set aside by Council for the project.

 “Council’s contribution to this project has been crucial in bringing these facilities to Armidale, to create a fantastic headquarters that will provide administrative and operational support for our zone’s 35 brigades, comprising around 1200 volunteers.”

Armidale Regional Council Mayor Simon Murray said the RFS provided an essential service for regional NSW and Council strongly supported any facility improvements that assisted the organisation.

“The colocation of these facilities in Armidale to create an RFS hub is also another welcome boost to activity in our region,” Councillor Murray said.

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