Great Keppel Island Rural Fire Brigade

Thursday, 16 Jun 2022

Great Keppel Island (GKI) Rural Fire Brigade is a good example of how a local brigade meets local needs. Whether it be bushfire, land search, 1st aid or cyclone cleanup, the local volunteers do it all.
On the island are 20 permanent residents, 220 resort guests and staff, around 2,000 day trippers per week and up to 2,500 people on the weekend who come over in private boats. 
There are no local police, SES or ambulance presence on GKI and whatever the challenge the 7 active brigade members (+2 in training) and the Great Keppel Island Hideaway Resort staff meet the immediate need.
A prime example is that while visiting yesterday an elderly lady took a fall and it was the brigade members who rendered initial 1st aid, accessed a resort owned side by side and transferred them to a resort senior 1st aid provider.
This is a fairly common occurrence with a recent case of compound fracture of the lower leg needing to be supported locally for 6 hours before extraction.
Another fairly regular occurrence are missing guests. This is generally registered by the resort management who then organizes resort staff, brigade for land search and watersports providers for a sea search. The local Coast Guard can take a couple of hours to arrive as it is a 30 to 40 minute boat ride from Roslyn Bay Marina.
For equipment the local brigade has a reconditioned Nissan Patrol and a 1,000 l trailer which is towed by resort supplied machinery.
This equipment is stored in an open shelter shed which is not connected to power or water. The brigade also has a shipping container for equipment. This is all within the resort area and is not on a separate lease.
The brigade is looking to upgrade its facilities on the island by building a Rural Fire Station that has a concrete floor, roof, walls and a 1st aid room. Ideally this station would also be connected to electricity, have water tanks and a toilet.
This would allow for the storing of the light attack, the trailer and hopefully a side by side (calling out to any brigades that have one and have not had much use for it and would like to donate it).
The brigade contacted the local RFBAQ Representative for Rockhampton, Robert Lang, with what they wanted to achieve and that led to yesterday’s meeting on GKI.
Mayor Andy Ireland of Livingstone Shire Council, RFSQ Inspector Chris Spencer, Justin Choveaux and President of the RFBAQ Ian Pike AFSM attended yesterday’s meeting with the brigades 1st Officer Mark Hodgon, brigade secretary Mark Edmisone, fire warden Carl Svendsen and resort Group Manager Kelly Hallis. 
After travelling around the island there was a 2,800 m2 parcel of council land that was identified as being ideal for the brigade needs and Mayor Ireland is going to see if this can be leased long term to the QFES. Finding the perfect block of land was the major initial hurdle that needed to be jumped.
This will allow the brigade to present their business case for a station within the next fortnight to QFES Central Region Assistant Commissioner Darryl King AFSM, who has been a supporter of this initiative.
A huge thanks to the brigade volunteers for what you have done for your community and what you are going to achieve in the future.

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