Firefighters saved by training during burnover

Member News imageL-R: Alistair Couzenes, Eureka Group Strike Team Leader with Jeremy Guley, Brett Marshall, Liam Ryan, Georgia Cook and Jarrod Pegg

Firefighters of the Eureka Group Strike Team have told how CFA training helped save their lives during a burnover on the fireground in Pomonal yesterday.

The crew arrived in Pomonal, near the Grampians National Park, at around 4pm yesterday, 13 February, to protect homes impacted by the fire, when a wind change occurred not long after they got there.

Jarrod Pegg, member of the Ballarat CFA, said the blaze went from slow moving and predictable to increasing in height several metres at a time.

“We were attacking the fire and the rapid change in wind caused a significant fire wall to approach our truck which came over us while we were still out of the truck,” he said.

“At that point in time I enacted our burnover protocol at CFA, ensured my crew were in the truck safely, then radioed through a mayday call to our strike team leader to inform them of our situation, from there other units from our strike team approached and assisted in our safety.

“We had little time to act to the situation but were able to get in the truck safely with minimal injuries.

“Fortunately our training kicked in, we train for this type of activity, we don’t like to see it and hope it never happens, but we still train for it every season,” Jarrod said.

Jarrod said a burnover was a situation no CFA member wanted to be in, but their training guided them.

“A burn over is what we try to avoid, no one wants to be in. But all across CFA and fire services we practice it. I am comfortable with the training I have received. I had no concerns about what was happening yesterday.

He credits the success not only to the training, his team too.

“All I had to do was inform my team we were going into a burnover and didn’t have to think twice about what was happening next. Everyone played a part in the protection and safety of ourselves.”

And in true CFA spirit, after getting medical clearance the strike team decided to continue fighting fires.

“I’m proud of my crew, they were very adamant they wanted to get back to the fire ground as soon as they could. They wanted to continue protecting the community they were there to save.”

“For me personally, this incident reinforces for volunteers to exist in CFA and continue to support communities, particularly communities during their time of need.”

/CFA News Release. View in full here.