Multi-Million Dollar Program Supports CFA Volunteers.

CFA volunteers will be better equipped to protect their communities thanks to a share in a record $11.95 million allocated under the new Vol- unteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP).

Deputy Premier of Victoria and Minister for Police and Emergency Ser- vices, Peter Ryan, today announced the emergency service groups suc- cessful in receiving the grants at an official event at the CFA Sale Fire Station.

VESEP is a new equipment grants program for local emergency ser- vices volunteer groups. The program aims to enhance the capability and safety for local volunteers when responding to emergencies, and pro- vide the state with assets to continue to respond to the increase in sig- nificant events such as bushfires, floods and heatwaves.

As part of the 2012-13 VESEP, a record 166 brigades have received funding towards operational equipment and appliances such as quick-fill trucks, tankers, trailers and amenities upgrades.

Of the 166 grants, 34 are for equipment, 75 for volunteer amenities im- provements and 57 for the upgrade or replacement of vehicles.

CFA Chief Officer, Euan Ferguson, said the funding would provide a real boost to brigades across the state.

“In addition to these project grants, VESEP also allocated CFA $1.4 mil- lion to a state-wide initiative that focuses on improving member safety and welfare, including new or replacement equipment such as pumps, generators and fire blankets,” Mr Ferguson said.

“This initiative will provide valuable support to more than 60,000 CFA members who work tirelessly and selflessly to protect our Victorian com- munities.”

Equipment grants have also been allocated to the Victoria State Emer- gency Service, Life Saving Victoria, Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, Shepparton Search and Rescue Squad, Volunteer Marine Rescue, St John Ambulance, Ambulance Victoria Community Emergency Response Teams and Citizens Radio Emergency Service Teams.

The Victorian Government VESEP initiative has been designed in con- sultation with volunteer groups, including Volunteer Fire Brigades Victo- ria. It was launched in February 2011 and will continue annually.