WIMMERA residents who donated money to the Country Fire Authority during last summer's horror bushfire season will see a return on their investment.
This week, the authority announced how it would spend some of the $4.8 million donated during the most recent bushfire season.
It will provide more than $550,000 worth of clothing, cameras, tools and firefighting equipment to Wimmera and Grampians brigades in coming months.
Ninety-five per cent of brigades statewide took up the offer to select items from a "district pick list" program, which is how the money was allocated.
In a statement, CFA and Brigades Donations Trust Chair Graeme Jilbert said it had consulted Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria, and listened to suggestions and requests from members, in decidig how to allocate the money.
"People donating to CFA want the money to be spent where they make a difference to our hard-working volunteers, and it's great to see they'll do that in time for the next bushfire season," he said.
Dinyarrak, a brigade of 25 members between Kaniva and Servicton, will receive reversing cameras for their fire truck, high-quality hose nozzles, a dishwasher and a barbecue.
Captain Ben Dunstall welcomed the items, though said the brigade was seeking other kinds of help from the CFA.
"It comes down to if you have a better product, you'll do the job better," he said.
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"There are also a lot of controls on the back the fire truck, so if you have a reversing camera, you'll see someone standing behind it."
Mr Dunstall said the brigade had had to cancel its bi-monthly barbecues for members when the coronavirus pandemic began. He said the new additions would help the brigade in its endeavour to recruit more members by being a social hub.
"If everyone feels included, you have more fire members," he said. "We're also lucky in our area, half a dozen children have been born int he last 12 months, so hopefully the kids of the future will be around (to become volunteers).
"The CFA also rings on a regular basis to me to find out if I know of anyone struggling due to isolation during the pandemic."
Mr Dunstall said the brigade was seeking a new permanent fire truck, after their last one was written off in an accident that injured himself and other members in January.
"We hit a drain in a paddock in Dinyarrak that had no bank on it, and the truck became airbourne," he said.
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"I've stuffed my knee and the driver hit his head on the roof, but we don't know when we're getting a new fire truck: Due to the pandemic things can't happen. We have an old one from Horsham there at the moment, so the reversing camera won't be fitted until we have a new truck.
"The temporary truck will probably do the job for this season, but in saying that, it is not suited to our country: Fire trucks are different due to the landscape, and we have a lot of heavy country where massive tyres are needed."
Mr Dunstall said the group was in contact with CFA's District 17 headquarters, which was doing its best to procure a new truck. They are also seeking compensation from the CFA for their injuries.
He said Dinyarrak brigade had had a busier time than usual responding to fires in South Australia during the 2019-20 summer bushfire period.
"We also go out to highway fires and crashes," he said. "We've been to two or three housefires in the last few years too: In the Kaniva group, everyone goes to a structure fire."
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