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A Brief History of the Brigade

The 14th of Feb 1926 was described as Black Sunday as the Mount Pleasant township was ravaged by fire. St Johns rectory and sheds behind the post office were burnt out as well as wooden footbridges over the Torrens . Green leaf branches, leather beaters and water filled pots and pans used to quell the flames which was clearly inefficient. As is often the case after a large and devastating bushfire the Mount Pleasant Agricultural Bureau members discussed the possibilities of coordinated fire fighting in 1927 paving the way for what we know as the CFS today.

It wasn't until 1930 however that Springton council invested in 6 innovative knapsacks to distribute to strategic locations through its region. Mount Pleasant council set aside a lorry to transport firefighters and equipment to fires and canvassed locals to make their own vehicles available when required. Bushfire awareness continued to grow due in part to the1931 Bushfire Amendment Act which strongly recommended clearance of undergrowth and saw bushfire warning notices posted around the district. The formation of the Barossa Firefighting Association was the main outcome of the 1931 Bushfire Act.

In the early 1940s, Fire Controllers were appointed in the Mount Pleasant district. In 1943 Wally Brokate joined council as a clerk and was responsible for directing fire fighting in the Mount Pleasant district. Wally soon initiated the idea of announcing District Fire Bans. Eventually Dept of Agriculture interest in the Mount Pleasant experiment made fire bans compulsory for the whole state.

Mount Pleasant council acquired its first air raid siren in 1948 which was attached to the telephone exchange, upon a sign from the clerk, telephonists would sound the siren and ring strategic property owners to alert them to a fire.

Mains water arrived in Mount Pleasant from the Murray River in 1957. It wasn't until this time that a local fire brigade formed as was the case in many areas of the state. In 1958 Mount Pleasant Council officially registered with the Emergency Fire Service (EFS)

Mount Pleasant officially registered as an EFS Brigade on 23rd Dec 1963 with A. Haeusler elected as the first Chief Officer (Captain) of the brigade.

That year Mount Pleasant brigade received its first appliance a 2 wheel drive Chev Blitz carrying 450L water and fitted with a 166gal/m Rex pump. The Chev had an excellent turning circle and as one member recalls was used to quell a fire in the forest many years ago when no other appliance was able to enter the forest as they could not safely turn around when if needed

In 1964 firefighting became more sophisticated with the introduction of new fiberglass helmets for all fire controllers, the district received its first firefighting map and red flashing lights appeared on mobile radio vehicles

Mount Pleasant EFS received appliance no 2 in 1966, a 4 wheel drive Ford Blitz carrying 680 L water fitted with a Rex pump. Not noted for their speed reaching a fire at Palmer would almost be an overnight trip.

Mount Pleasant EFS acquired the International C1300 4 wheel drive appliance for $4100 in 1974. It carried significantly more water in fact (3200 L) and was fitted with a Rex pump. A gain in one area was a loss in another with a turning circle of 25 acres

In 1979 Mount Pleasant EFS becomes known as Mount Pleasant Country Fire Service

Mount Pleasant CFS acquired its 4th appliance a 4 wheel drive Landrover LWB in 1980. Members remember this unit as having hose pressure equivalent to a garden hose.

Mount Pleasant CFS acquires a Ford F350 fire unit in 1984. It carried very little water and few crew. 3 brigade appliances now become one

The brigade purchased the first 2 Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus (CABA) sets in 1985 after 2 members were trained in CABA. That same year Mount Pleasant & Palmer CFS attended the first fire in SA to be suppressed from the air with fire retardant

In 1987 the brigade purchased its first Road Crash Rescue equipment, Black Hawke cutters & Porta Power spreaders, chains and rams after a few members were trained in RCR. That same year the Mount Pleasant Brigade received tone pagers for the first time. Prior to this members would respond to the sound of a siren. It wasn't until 1988 however that Mount Pleasant officially became a Road Crash Rescue Brigade

1989 saw many changes to the service. Mount Pleasant CFS group formed and included brigades of Springton, Palmer, Eden Valley & Mount Pleasant as the Group Base. Mount Pleasant 42 Hino 4 wheel drive was also acquired by the brigade

In 1991 Mount Pleasant CFS relocated from the old station in council store shed to a purpose built station at Talunga Park (current location). The members helped build the station and raised money from catering and cutting firewood to fund the project. That same year the second Mount Pleasant 24 Hino 4 wheel drive was brought into service

In 1992 the brigade purchased Holmatro rescue equipment and became a heavy rescue brigade

Mount Pleasant CFS Group and Williamstown CFS group merged in 1994 to form the Crawford CFS Group including brigades of Eden Valley , Springton, Mount Pleasant , Williamstown, Lyndoch, Crawford Forest , & Concordia.

In 1995 Mount Pleasant acquired a Ford F350 rescue vehicle which carried no water, and was an ex police rescue vehicle. As it only carried two crew the second appliance was never far away with backup personnel.

A high volume pump trailer was built and commissioned in 1996 due to generous donations of time and equipment from members of the CFS and local community

The Mount Pleasant A24 Hino 4 wheel drive fire & rescue appliance was commissioned in 1997

Major extensions to the station occurred in 1998 including a new kitchen and crew room. All monies for the project were fundraised by the brigade

The Government Radio and Paging Network (GRN) was commissioned at Mount Pleasant in 2000. Alpha numeric pagers replaced the old tone pagers

In 2001 the Group base moved from Mount Pleasant to Williamstown and the Crawford CFS Group name changed to Barossa CFS Group

In 2003 the history of Mount Pleasant CFS was traced back to its origins. The 40 th anniversary was celebrated with many awards and 10 Life Memberships awarded.

CFS supplies a brand new Isuzu 24 pumper appliance to replace Hino 24 in 2004. Mount Pleasant A24 appliance becomes known as Mount Pleasant 24.

The brigade currently has 25 active firefighters, 18 operation support personnel and 16 cadets as well as a number of landholders with farm firefighting units who support our efforts.

The brigade has 2 appliances, an Isuzu 24 pumper 4 wheel drive which holds 2000L of water and has a high volume 500gal/min pump. The second appliance is a Hino 4 wheel drive which also holds 2000L of water and has a 300gal/min pump.

The brigade attends on average 80 emergency incidents per year, 30% of them vehicle accidents and 30% rural fires. The other incidents attended include HAZMAT, structure fires, vehicle fires, searches, assisting SA ambulance and storm damage.

The brigade is well trained and well equipped having road accident rescue equipment breathing apparatus, chainsaws, 240v generators and lights, a portable dam, pumper trailer, positive pressure ventilation fan and sand bags to name just some of the equipment.

 

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Updated: October 2012