As the warmer weather approaches and community emergency response preparations turn to fire prevention, the South Coogee Bush Fire Brigade has welcomed a new $550,000 fire appliance to its Cockburn Central West headquarters.
City of Cockburn Ranger & Community Safety Manager Michael Emery said the much-needed 3.4 fire appliance would be heavily used by the brigade’s volunteers as part of their fire response and mitigation burning.
The specialised fire firefighting appliance will provide support to emergency incidents and prescribed burns and used not only in the City of Cockburn but state wide, providing support to WA communities during fire emergencies.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services Community Emergency Services Manager, Aaron Higgins, said the appliance’s name indicated its water capacity and driving capability, 3 meaning 3,000 litres of water and 4 referring to its 4WD capability.
“The new appliance is also equipped with state of the art comprehensive crew protection safety equipment and enhances firefighting capabilities for our volunteers,” Mr Higgins said.
The equipment includes in-cab air breathing systems to provide crews with respiratory support in oxygen deficient atmospheres, manual drop-down radiant heat shields at all windows to protect crews from radiant heat, single-use fire blankets, a deluge system to spray water over the vehicle’s vital operating components including the cab, pump and tyres and an Automatic Vehicle Locating system, a button that crews activate to advise communications centres that it is in an emergency situation.
The truck replaces the brigade’s smaller 2.4 appliance and while it won’t be involved in maintaining fire breaks, the vehicle’s size is a contributing factor to the standards set for fire break maintenance.
“If residents fire breaks are not maintained to the standard set by the City of Cockburn our vehicles will not fit down the fire breaks. This is a vital consideration for property owners in the event that we are called to defend their property from fire,” Mr Higgins said.
Funding for the five-crew vehicle comes from the Emergency Service Levy which is collected by local government on behalf of the Department of Fire & Emergency Services to fund the state’s fire and emergency services, including volunteer and career fire and rescue brigades.