Brigades get more powerful tankers

NEW safety features on CFA trucks to protect firefighters were hailed by Premier Denis Napthine when he handed over new vehicles to the Wangoom and St Helens brigades yesterday.  

Dr Napthine said the new trucks had fire protection curtains in the five-seat cabin, an external water spray system and a nozzle at the front to give protection against flames.

The two new medium tankers for Wangoom and St Helens, each valued at $335,000, hold 2350 litres of water and also carry class A foam.

They are part of a rollout of 124 such tankers the CFA says has lifted its firefighting capability to its strongest level in decades. CFA district five operations officer Henry Barton said the trucks could pump 900 litres of water a minute — double the amount of the present medium tankers.

The lighter and more versatile trucks, which were designed with the help of CFA volunteers, have the capability of a large tanker. 

Dr Napthine yesterday also opened the Mepunga brigade’s new shed that has room for two appliances, plus a work bench, toilet facilities and turn out area for volunteers to change.

Mr Barton said local brigade members had been willing to fight fires not only in their communities but also to take part in strike teams that battled large outbreaks such as the 2009 Black Saturday blazes and this year’s fires in the Grampians and at Kentbruck near Nelson.

ehimmelreich@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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