CFA Training College, Fiskville

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CFA Training College, Fiskville is the training college for members of the Country Fire Authority (CFA), which is a large, predominantly volunteer fire and emergency service which has legislative responsibility for fire and emergencies in regional Victoria (Australia). The college is located near Ballan.

CFA Fiskville is used by CFA volunteers and staff for general training (both theory and practical), but has many other uses, including:[1]

  • Live-in training for CFA career firefighters
  • Fire training for corporate clients
  • Some training with Metropolitan Fire Brigade firefighters

CFA Fiskville is located on the site of the old beam wireless shortwave transmitter, just south of Ballan, between Ballarat and Melbourne on the Western Freeway[2] (take the Ballan exit - it is signed 'CFA Fiskville').

History of Fiskville[edit]

The name of the property comes from Sir Ernest Fisk, the Chairman of Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited (AWA) when the property was owned and managed by AWA and used as a long distance radio communication station as part of the Imperial Wireless Chain. The original California Bungalow style buildings at the front of the property are still used as accommodation for student firefighters and were originally built to house the station's technical staff and their families. The original generator building now houses the Teaching Centre while the concrete blocks used to anchor the aerials' guy wires are still visible in multiple locations around the property.


The Pad[edit]

The practical training area is known as the 'Pad'. On the Pad there are several different drill areas, including:

  • Plane crash, Soon to located rear of Bunnings shed (Big Green Shed) in Blue gums. (Search & Rescue)
  • 3 large petrol storage tanks, Pyrose Parade (Gas fire, Search & Rescue)
  • Large vertical refinery structure, Pyrose Parade (Gas fire, fog attack)
  • Service station, Jolimont Road (Gas fire, car fire, fog attack, structural risk)
  • 2 horizontal gas bullets, one vertical gas bullet, and small refinery structure, Jolimont Road (Gas fire, fog attack)
  • Loading dock, Pyrose pde ( Flammable Liquids, Gas)
  • Running Fuel Drain Fire (Flammable Liquids, Gas)
  • Hospital, Jolimont Road (Structure fire, Search & Rescue)
  • Single Storey Structure, normally car under carport, 7 Tower Road (Car fire, Structural risk, Search & Rescue)
  • Fish & Chip Shop, back of 7 Tower Road (Flammable Liquid Fire, Structure fire, Search & Rescue)
  • Flashover Room, back of 7 Tower Road (Flashover demonstration)
  • Double Storey Structure, Tower Road (Structure fire, Thermal layering, Search & Rescue)
  • Multiple locations for motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) and car fires
  • Factoryette Tower Rd/Jolimont Rd - Structure attack, search and rescue

Other facilities[edit]

There are other scenarios around the grounds of Fiskville including a train derailment, training power lines, military helicopter, flammable liquids, truck fires, and an airstrip.

Some non-fire related training equipment include Urban Search & Rescue (USAR), 4WD course, and low ropes course.

There are comprehensive theory facilities including seminar rooms, urban and rural TEWT (Tactical Exercise Without Troops) rooms, and other classroom training facilities.

Fire station[edit]

Fiskville is kind of an operational tin shed fire station, it has no boundaries, but responds when neighbouring brigades request it appliances,(if available), and runs 1 Type 4 SEM Scania, an Isuzu Type 3 Medium pumper (NSW Back), & an Isuzu Type 3 Heavy pumper, and a 3.4D Tanker. The old 87 Hino has been retired as Aug 23 2012

Cancer cluster allegations[edit]

Around 5 December 2011, former CFA chief, Brain Potter, stated[3] that he was concerned that the medical issues he and his former colleagues and families were suffering may have been due to the chemicals buried and burnt at Fiskville. This was identified post the collapse of the World Trade Center where fire-fighters were exposed to not dissimilar chemicals.

On 6 December 2011, Premier of Victoria, Ted Baillieu announced an independent enquiry headed by Professor Rob Joy[4] into these allegations. This report was presented to the Country Fire Authority in late June 2012 and released shortly after with a response from CFA

Professor Rob Joy concluded: "We found that the current situation at Fiskville is that these legacy issues need to be further investigated but there's no good reason to conclude that they pose any significant risk to anyone on the site at present. Certainly further work needs to be done and CFA have agreed to do that."[5]

The full report, CFA's response and other information is available on the CFA website.

Contaminated fire fighting water[edit]

On 25 June 2012, The Country Fire Authority Chief Executive Officer, Mick Bourke responded [6] to allegations by the Herald Sun[7] of contaminated recycled fire fighting water.

On 3 May 2013 CFA CEO Mick Bourke accused the Herald Sun of "a continued malicious, inaccurate and misleading media campaign driven by those with vested interests in disparaging the Fiskville facility." [8]