Trials to test off-road capability of modified fire trucks
Trials of modified firefighting trucks have begun in Esperance this week to test the performance of enhanced safety measures including different tyres and in-cab equipment.
Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Assistant Commissioner Asset Management Brad Delavale said DFES had been working closely with the Shire of Esperance and volunteer brigades to improve the all-terrain capability of its firefighting fleet.
“The Shire of Esperance’s unique terrain of sandy dunes, dense bushland and soft farmland soil due to changing farming practices has posed challenges when responding to bushfires,” Assistant Commissioner Delavale said.
“The aim of these trials is to identify and test innovations that will enhance the firefighting fleets’ ability to respond to difficult to access areas.”
A DFES 3.4 Urban Tanker has been fitted with a Central Tyre Inflation feature to allow firefighters to control the tyre pressure from within the cab while moving. This provides an opportunity to reduce the amount of time it takes firefighters to deflate and inflate tyres which will improve safety and increase mobility at an incident.
A 4.4 Broadacre Tanker is also being fitted with Super Single tyres to assess their suitability on and off-road, particularly on softer soil.
Assistant Commissioner Delavale said the trials would be monitored closely, and if successful could be implemented into WA’s firefighting fleet.
“Safety is our top priority, so if these vehicle modifications mean we can better meet the operational needs of volunteers at the same time as improving their safety and the safety of the broader community, that’s a great outcome,” he said.
“Under the Department’s Operational Fleet Project, volunteer and career firefighters are now much more closely engaged in the design and delivery of our operational fleet, helping to ensure appliances are tailored to the needs of frontline personnel. “
“The Operational Fleet Project provides an opportunity for this trial to explore more immediate options for potentially enhancing vehicle mobility for the Esperance region.”
The trial will be facilitated by the Bushfire Fleet Mobility Working Group, which is a joint initiative between DFES, Shire of Esperance and local Bush Fire Brigades.
Esperance Shire President Ian Mickel said the working group had been a great opportunity to bring the region’s bushfire stakeholders under one roof to discuss important local issues.
“We’ve had some very constructive conversations over the past few months, which has led to the vehicle modifications that target our local landscape,” Mr Mickel said.
“We look forward to reviewing the outcomes of the trials and will continue to work closely with DFES and local volunteers to improve protecting our community from bushfires.”