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Welcome to a major update of the Blue Mountains Group Support Brigade (BMGSB) website. We invite you to take a look around and learn more about who we are and what we do.

The Group Support Brigade is a volunteer NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigade which operates from the Blue Mountains Emergency Operations Centre in Katoomba. It was formed in 2000 by the amalgamation of Communications, Catering, Logistics, Planning and Fire Investigation units.

The Fire Control Centre forms the administrative and operational base of the NSW Rural Fire Service Blue Mountains District. The coordination and management of local brigade responses to fires and other incidents – including natural disasters, motor vehicle accidents and other civil emergencies – is undertaken through this Centre.

The Brigade includes two main sections, Communications and Catering. From time-to-time Brigade members may perform other Support Brigade functions required by the Blue Mountains rural fire district.

The Group Support Brigade works closely with other agencies to respond to a range of emergencies across the Blue Mountains.

Our members are also deployed to other areas of the state, and interstate, in times of need.

Ops RoomOCV

Communications

Group Support Brigade members are highly trained in the area of operational communication. Our volunteer members work rostered shifts (after hours, weekends and public holidays) to provide continuous communications coverage outside the office hours of the Blue Mountains Fire Control Centre (BMFCC) at Katoomba.

Through radio network systems within the BMFCC at Katoomba and the Brigade’s Operational Command Vehicle (OCV) our members respond to the needs of the community by sending fire fighters to situations as quickly as possible.

Our radio operators have direct contact with NSW Fire and Rescue to respond to triple zero calls. Our members then liaise with all other emergency services such as the NSW Police, State Emergency Services (SES), National Parks and Blue Mountains Council to coordinate and support the emerging emergency situation.

A number of members are also qualified as Aviation Radio Operators (AROs) to be able to communicate with aircraft throughout campaign fires. This provides another very skilled and valued support area to those fighting the fires. Our AROs provide pilots with a mandatory safety service known as “flight following” which is a procedure to keep track of the progress of fire-fighting aircraft at regular intervals and initiate search and rescue actions if contact is not maintained.

Catering

The Brigade has a specialist group of qualified catering volunteers who provide meals for fire-fighters and other agencies as required.

Catering is an essential part of the Brigade and the RFS district as it supplies support to all brigades across the Blue Mountains throughout campaign bushfires, hazard reductions, emergency rescue incidents and district RFS training courses. Our catering members also assist at major community events such as Winter Magic and the Six-Foot Track Marathon.

The Brigade has a modern well-equipped Mobile Field Kitchen (MFK) which is based at the Blue Mountains Fire Control Centre at Katoomba. This can be deployed at short notice to cater for emergency rescue incidents, and is also used for providing hot meals and drinks for fire-fighters in the field.

Catering crew
Helis at Airbase

Other support functions

Members of the Group Support Brigade can be called upon to assist the Blue Mountains rural fire district in other areas such as:

  • Incident Management Team support
  • transporting crews and equipment
  • assisting with office work
  • equipment maintenance

The brigade works closely with the management staff of the NSW Rural Fire Service. It is a valued and highly regarded brigade, supporting 22 local brigades from Glenbrook/Lapstone to Blackheath/Mt Victoria and across to Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine and Mt Tomah. Our volunteers, through their brigade work, support all the communities of the Blue Mountains.