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Polaris to assist Sandon Village

Lynne Mowbray |


The village of Sandon’s Community Fire Unit (part of the Minnie Water Rural Fire Service – RFS) has just received a Polaris side-by-side off road vehicle to respond to incidents in and around the isolated village of Sandon.

The vehicle was handed over on Saturday afternoon during the Minnie Water RFS Christmas Party and Citation presentation.

NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) District Manager Superintendent Stuart Watts said that several years ago they formed a Community Fire Unit (CFU) which was attached to a RFS brigade and (the CFU members) were trained to defend their own village.

“With Sandon Village being quite isolated, the only access to the village is via the beach or a sandy track access (through the National Park),” Supt Watts said.

“Being is a sand environment, they needed some sort of vehicle to tow a trailer around with. So the brigade put forward a grant proposal through to the Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) which is an association which looks after the RFS volunteer needs.

“The RFSA have been raising funds on behalf of the RFS brigades for quite some time now and they’re quite generous in their grants for our brigades. 

“The RFSA supported the proposal despite having some issues to resolve, prior to buying it and deploying it.

“It took some time to go through those motions, but at the end of the day it has been supported by the RFS and RFSA and we have now purchased the vehicle and we deployed it to the village of Sandon on Saturday, to enhance fire protection.

“It will provide a quicker response to some incidents.

“It could also help out if any sort of medical attention is needed, where we could get a doctor or nurse up to the village or transfer the person down to a tarred road, to be met by an ambulance.

“So, there is a whole host of things that this initiative put forward by the local Community Fire Unit (CFU), will go a long way to enhance protection for the community no matter what the emergency is.

“This Polaris is the first to be assigned to a CFU in NSW,” he said.

Sandon CFU member and deputy captain of Minnie Water RFS Brian Whitelaw said that the CFU has a trailer full of pumps and hoses which (up until now) they have had to rely on private transport to take it to any fire activity.

“One of the primary roles of the Polaris will be to actually hook up and tow the trailer to the site that requires the equipment,” Brian said.

“The other thing that it will allow us to do, is to patrol the back track through the National Park to the Sandon, as well as transport our fire fighters around the village, to the site where it’s required.

“The Yuraygir National Park surrounds the village of Sandon and is quite prone to fires so this vehicle will make us tremendously more mobile and responsive; and to call in the appropriate assistance, in the case of a fire,” he said.