Hamilton firefighters look back on 150 years of service | The standard

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The Hamilton Fire Department has come a long way from using buckets of water to fight fires due to limited resources. The brigade celebrates 150 years of its creation in 1870, when firefighters did not even have access to reliable water, pumps or hoses. Instead, the brigade was referred to as a hook and a ladder. Captain Malcolm Anderson said this meant that if a fire was too large to deal with buckets of water, the brigade had to stop the spread of the fire by physically demolishing neighboring buildings, which he said turned out to be proved to be “an unpopular method”. Years of campaigning saw water pipes piped into the CBD that provided better access to water but still relied on limbs manually routing the fire hoses from the station to the fire, stripping the main pipe by digging a hole and by drilling a hole in the woodland then pipes in which they pushed a riser to bring out the water and into the pipes. “Gradually the brigade was able to improve their equipment and received a motorized pumper in the 1920s which laid the foundation for modern firefighting equipment available today,” said Captain Anderson. Hamilton firefighters reached the milestone of 150 years in 2020, but the COVID19 pandemic has forced the postponement of planned celebrations until this year, when life was expected to return to the normal. But Brigade Secretary Celeste Benoit said Victoria faced ongoing lockdowns and restrictions, it was not possible to safely carry out the activities that had been planned and the difficult decision was made. to cancel the celebrations of 150 years. “It’s a shame because we are very proud of our history and the work of our volunteers over 150 years to make us the successful brigade that we are today,” she said. The current Hamilton Fire Hall on Cox Street is the brigade’s third. The first Gray Street station near the post office was moved to the other end of Gray Street next to the Argyle Arms Hotel in 1901, where it remained until the current station opened in 1994. Stations and equipment weren’t the only things to evolve over the brigade’s 150 years. The brigade’s responsibilities include responding to grass and brush fires, structural fires, technical rope rescue and hazardous materials support. Members also support other emergency services such as VICSES and Victoria Police in rescues from road accidents, storms and floods, and support Ambulance Victoria in accidents with hoists and access to patients. The brigade also supports other agencies and brigades with planned fires and deploys to fires across the state and between states as part of CFA attack teams. Lt. Nigel Rabbitts said the operational response was a major role for the Hamilton Brigade. “Members must therefore have the appropriate skills to undertake the range of incidents to which they may be called upon,” he said. “The brigade places a lot of emphasis on training, maintaining skills and working as a team both internally, with other brigades and in a multi-agency situation.” Almost half of the 70 members of the brigade are active firefighters who respond to an incident, with members coming from a wide variety of backgrounds and varying levels of experience. Our journalists work hard to provide local and up-to-date news to the community. Here’s how you can access our trusted content:


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