CFS expand road crash rescue capability with Heavy Rescue Vehicle

Heavy Rescue Vehicle Lobethal - Hero image

The Heavy Rescue Vehicle, located at the Lobethal CFS Brigade, will respond to complex vehicle accidents including specialist and heavy vehicle incidents (e.g. agricultural machinery), industrial and general rescue incidents. This will enable a specialist response to be provided across the Adelaide Hills.

It also includes vehicle relocation capability, which is via a purpose-built winch that will be used to drag vehicles off or away from obstacles following a road crash, enabling an injured person to receive medical treatment in the fastest possible time.

CFS Chief Officer, Brett Loughlin AFSM, said the introduction of the Heavy Rescue Vehicle into the CFS’ fleet will revolutionise the response of the all-hazard agency and will be lifesaving.

“This vehicle will enable our volunteers to provide a greater specialised response to regional South Australia that was previously limited to metropolitan areas,” Chief Officer Loughlin said.

“Every second counts when responding to a road crash incident.”

Vehicle relocation capability - Heavy Rescue Vehicle

“Having the ability to relocate a vehicle to increase access points, rather than only having the ability to use tools to extricate a person who might be trapped, will enable a person to receive medical treatment sooner,” he said.

Mr Loughlin said additional locations for the rollout of further vehicles are being identified through research into CFS response and road network data.
As the largest provider of RCR in South Australia, with 66 specialist brigades across the state, the CFS responds to incidents along the major highways and freight routes connecting SA to other states.

Manager Technical Operations, Tim McNeilly, said the vehicle relocation ability will be operated in conjunction with crash recovery system Moditech, run from a tablet, which will provide CFS volunteers with in depth information on potential hazards. 

“New technologies and built-in safety systems in vehicles have helped to increase safety systems for occupants in a car before a crash. However, these create safety hazards and challenges to CFS volunteers when responding to extricate anyone trapped,” Mr McNeilly said.

“Moditech technology will allow volunteers to look up specific car models to understand where potential dangers such as airbags, fuel tanks, batteries or SRS control units may be hidden within the car.”

Jason Draper, Brett Loughlin, Tim McNeilly, Jason Kleeman, Lobethal Brigade

The CFS has worked with several agencies around Australia, as well as the Lobethal Brigade, to determine the most beneficial equipment and capability to include on the truck to ensure it is fit for purpose.

Lobethal Brigade Captain, Jason Draper, said the brigade is called to more Road Crash Rescue incidents than any other type of incident.

“We’re thrilled to be chosen as the first brigade to receive a Heavy Rescue Vehicle and it will significantly increase the CFS’ response and rescue capability to Lobethal and surrounding communities," Mr Draper said.

“Having an input into the design, capabilities and layout of the truck was an incredible experience. It’s something volunteers aren’t generally able to have a say in so it truly is a truck designed by firefighters for firefighters.”

Heavy Rescue Vehicle Lobethal

Key features of the Heavy Rescue Vehicle:

  • Standard RCR capability
  • Heavy Lifting – 60 & 90t airbags, 50t Heavy Lift Jacks
  • Heavy Stabilisation – Stabfast XL, significant cribbing, truck cabin restraint system
  • Relocation – vehicle mounting winching, tirfor, go jacks
  • Rescue platform
  • Industrial rescue options - battery combi tool, tag out lock out kit
  • Also, general rescue - dremel, ring cutter, larger assortment of battery power tools, quick cut saw, chainsaw.
18 May 2023