KEITH resident Alan Morcom has ties with his local Country Fire Service stretching back decades and he says one of the highlights of his time with the brigade is seeing the station given a new look with a mural recently.
Alan was the brigade captain at the Sherwood CFS for 30 years and after moving off the family farm and into Keith, he took on a role as radio operator and general organiser in the town. He has also been a bushfire investigator for the past five years.
“I’ve gone from an on-the-ground role, to hands-on help with training,” he said.
“We’re lucky to be in a very strong situation with the Keith CFS, with 14 cadets coming through. With this brigade, we class ourselves as a family. Everyone supports each other.”
Alan said when the idea of a mural celebrating the work of the brigade was raised, the CFS was in a fortunate position to have a talented painter at hand.
“Julia Davis lives in Keith and is a fantastic artist,” he said.
Funding for the work also came from a local source.
“During the Sherwood bushfires last year, the CFS played a big part in saving the MBL Proteins plant,” Alan said.
In recognition of this assistance, MBL provided a generous donation to the local CFS, which not only paid for the artwork, but also other improvements to the station including an icemaker and new drinks fridge. The mural features firefighters in action battling a blaze, the local fire truck and a fairly unique piece of equipment.
Keith CFS has access to a log skidder, a piece of dry firefighting equipment.
“It’s very useful in scrubby situations,” Alan said.
“When you hit a patch of scrub, it gives you the opportunity to clear a break. The Tatiara group (which the Keith CFS is part of) is the only group with this dry firefighting equipment at this stage.
“The real beauty of the log skidder if that you can move it to where it’s needed at speeds of up to 20 kilometres an hour, unlike a bulldozer that can only go 3-4km/hr.”
Alan said he took great pride that the town had such a great asset.
“The mural is very visible from the highway, especially in the morning when the sun is shining on it. It has a real wow factor,” he said.
Preparation work for the Keith CFS mural was done in September and painting by Ms Davis started in late October.
Ms Davis completed the painting in a mere 11 days.
It will be officially launched at the Keith CFS Christmas barbecue on December 5.
But in Keith, the artwork features on other buildings, including the local Country Fire Service station and on McBain Street, just off the entrance to Keith, where Ms Davis has completed three artworks.
One of an aeroplane is outside the Royal Flying Doctor Service shop, another artwork of a lady getting her hair done is outside the Salon 15 hairdresser and a mural of a man putting out a fire is located on the front of the Murraylands Fire and Safety store.