CFS completes most significant safety upgrade to its fleet since Ash Wednesday Fires
The South Australian Country Fire Service has completed its most significant vehicle upgrades in forty years - since the Ash Wednesday fires - with new safety systems installed in more than 390 trucks, following the completion of the Fire Truck Safety Systems (FTSS) project.
The FTSS project, funded by the State Government, has enabled the CFS to address safety provisions on our current fleet, by retrofitting burn over protection features to enhance firefighter safety and minimise the risk of exposure to death or injury from burn overs.
In-cabin breathing systems, radiant heat shield window curtains, deluge systems for cabin glass protection, and tyre spray protection systems are among a list of key features installed in the trucks, including tankers, pumpers and bulk water carriers.
CFS Chief Officer, Brett Loughlin AFSM, said the standardisation of features across all response vehicles will position CFS as a national leader in safety features afforded to firefighter crew safety on operational fleet.
"It can be said that this is the single most significant upgrade that has been undertaken on operational fleet since the Ash Wednesday fires in 1983," Chief Officer Loughlin said.
"The safety and wellbeing of CFS volunteers will always be of the upmost importance, therefore, it's important we as an agency do everything in our power to provide adequate protection and safety procedures for our volunteers."
In addition to the safety enhancements, the CFS was also given approval to employ dedicated Regional Fleet Officers across the state, to actively support the maintenance of operational fleet to its highest possible standard.
Operational Response Vehicles Project Officer, Peter Bonython, said initiatives like these also help develop strong partnerships with SA industries and businesses.
He said ensuring all CFS trucks are fitted with a standard set of safety features was an essential undertaking, with all CFS trucks requiring a safety retrofit, placed back into service at the end of 2022.
"Each of the key safety features will assist in reducing the impact felt on CFS volunteers during a bushfire, including heat exhaustion and most importantly radiant heat, which is the biggest threat to firefighters," Mr Bonython said.
Emergency Services Minister Joe Szakacs said the safety and protection of firefighters is of upmost importance and these changes mean South Australia has some of the best safety features in the nation.
"Pushing South Australia to become a national leader in safety features is a major achievement and the scale of this safety upgrade to South Australia's CFS fleet should be celebrated by all," Minister Szakacs said.
"It is also reassuring to know the CFS also have dedicated Regional Fleet Officers to actively support the maintenance of the vehicles into the future."
Key features standard across all response vehicles:
- Cabin deluge systems for cabin glass protection.
- In-cabin breathing systems for crew oxygen supply for burn over events.
- Cabin crew protection (window curtains, where required) as radiant heat shields.
- In-cabin pump control to enable operation of Cabin Deluge from the cab.
- Under-cabin heat shields to reduce radiant heat penetration of cabin structures.
- Tyre spray systems to reduce radiant heat.
- Updated visibility markers to new safety standards to improve fleet visibility on fire grounds and when responding.