By Brendan Rees
Hampton Park fire brigade has fallen short of hitting response time targets as data for Victoria’s fire services was released for the first time.
Country Fire Authority statistics showed Hampton Park, a fully volunteer-run station, responded to just six per cent of incidents within the authority’s standard eight-minute target period.
That compared to Cranbourne which responded to 96 per cent of incidents within eight minutes, followed closely Narre Warren by which registered a 74 per cent response rate.
Cranbourne brigade is supported by career firefighters whereas Narre Warren is a volunteer-run brigade.
Data also showed Hampton Park brigade took 16.11 minutes to respond to 90 per cent of emergency incidents within their own brigade area and met the standard response target of eight minutes on only two occasions.
Hampton Park brigade first lieutenant Chris Gomolis said the station’s challenging location was a reason why the brigade was slow to respond between 1 April and 30 June.
“There are many factors that contribute to it all. The biggest one at the moment which has been highlighted is where our station is not the most ideal location.
“With the evolving of Hampton Park and Lynbrook, and Lyndhurst, the station is simply surrounded by 40 kilometre zones, and traffic lights everywhere,” Mr Gomolis said.
“That’s pretty much the cause of our members’ delay to get to the station quick enough.”
Mr Gomolis said the issue was raised several times, adding “I believe options are being explored”.
The data also showed other brigades in the area responded to Hampton Park callouts only 63 per cent of the time within the standard eight minute period.
Minister for Emergency Services James Merlino said the release of the data was an important step for public accountability because community safety was “our first priority”.
“Unlike the Liberals, we believe the public have the right to know the response times of our emergency services – whether they are firefighters or paramedics,” he said.
He said the figures provided further evidence that reform of the fire services was needed, as Victoria continued to grow.
“That’s why we’re doing just that, as well as giving volunteers more funding, more support and more independence.”
Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Brad Battin said Daniel Andrews and James Merlino continued their “war on volunteers” by releasing misleading figures comparing career stations to volunteer stations.
“The Labor government’s decision to hide figures that do not support their political outcomes is a disgrace,” he said.
“The Liberal Party are committed to community safety as the key to all our policies in the fire services, and that is why Matthew Guy and I will deliver a Royal Commission that can make independent recommendations to the government for a fire service that best protects all Victorians, not like Daniel Andrews reform based on political pay back to the union who supported his election.”