Plenty has changed since Bill Labbett and Kevin Hanrahan first jumped on a CFA truck more than 60 years ago.
The truck, for starters. When the pair joined in the late 1950s it was an old Dodge truck that took them to house fires, bush fires and other incidents.
Now it's a high-tech truck that is specced out with safety equipment and more gear than they could have imagined way back then.
And now Bungaree CFA responds to more car accidents on the Western Highway and local roads than it does fires.
Mr Labbett, 80, and Mr Hanrahan, 84, were this month honoured by Bungaree CFA for 60 years of service - one of many brigade members to clock up a milestone of service.
In all the brigade celebrated 455 years of service given by 13 volunteer members including eight who have volunteered for more than 30 years.
In the late 1950s it was expected that local landholders be involved with the CFA and both mens' fathers were volunteer firefighters with the Bungaree brigade, which was formed in 1942 following a large fire at Leigh Creek in 1939.
Kevin joined the brigade in February 1957 and spent four years as lieutenant, as well as competing and later coaching younger members in fire demonstration competitions and servicing fire extinguishers in the district.
Bill signed up in January 1959 and held many positions including communications officer, training coordinator and two years as captain.
While house fires and bush fires were the main callouts for the Bungaree brigade in their early years, the past decades have seen more car accidents and fewer fires.
"After I joined we had a house fire pretty much every year for about five years," Kevin recalled.
"The service here has changed. These trucks get more call outs to motor vehicle accidents than anything else, and when you start going to accidents you often find someone dead. I've seen a few ... but one change for the better has been the understanding of the impact of traumatic stress," Bill said.
Kevin's first fire call was a house fire at nearby Dunnstown, while Bill's initiation on the truck was a grass and scrub fire that scorched out of Mount Egerton toward Ballan and Durdiwarrah.
"I was a land holder and so was Kevin and it was expected that most land holders supported the fire brigade," Bill said. "But up at the railway station there was a big group of men working for the five produce merchants, chaff mill and men called lumpers who unloaded drays, trailers and trucks."
Both have volunteered on strike teams for major bushfires within Victoria and interstate including Ash Wednesday and other infernos.
Because they only had themselves to rely on, Bill believes the captains and firefighters of old had a keener sense of keeping themselves safe without relying on technology.
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"With all the safety in the trucks now you can put down the heat curtains and spray yourself with water if you get caught, but back then you had to know about the weather and fire, and the fire making its own weather, or you'd end up with your bum on fire," he said.
"When I first started on the truck the captain was responsible for the men on the truck so they were pretty careful and you always felt safe, but now someone away from the fire tells you on the radio what to do," Kevin added.
In addition to their 60 year awards from Bungaree CFA, Bill and Kevin were awarded life membership.
"I knew by maths that we were going to get 60 year medals but didn't know they were going to give us life membership," Bill said.
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