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‘Toilet trailer’ a vital amenity
A new trailer based at CFA’s District 24 has been purpose-built to rapidly transport toilets, rubbish bins and hand-washing facilities to firefighter staging areas.
The compact trailer, designed by volunteer and staff members, was completed in mid-November and put to use not long after, deployed to the 7000-hectare Barnawartha fire, amongst other incidents.
It can carry two portable loos, two wheelie-bins, and multiple hand-washing stations and will continue to be used for rapid deployment for medium to large emergency incidents, as well as for brigades requiring extra facilities for social, fundraising or community safety events.
District 24 Operations Manager Paul King said the absence of toilets at firegrounds had been an ongoing issue, and one that particularly impacted on women. He said discussions at a ‘championing women in brigades’ workshop last year had provided a much-needed catalyst for the trailer initiative.
“With a rapidly escalating bush or scrub fire you can have tens or even hundreds of personnel arriving at an area, and that will often be remote or far from existing amenities,” Paul said.
“It’s a logistical challenge but we need practical measures to address these logistics and to make sure our firefighters are properly looked after.”
Modular hand wash stations attached to the trailer will allow members to adequately wash their hands with soap and water, decreasing the chance of illness.
Paul said improving overall hygiene standards on the fireground was a priority, saying something as simple as a bin would improve conditions at a staging area.
“When there aren’t any options available for rubbish disposal, personnel often have no other option but to let rubbish accumulate in the appliances,” he said.
“Having bins on the trailer will help us to keep vehicles tidy relatively clean and mean that crews coming in after changeover are not dealing with left over rubbish.”
Paul said that as word spread requests for the trailer were coming in regularly from across the district, adding that other CFA districts and the NSW RFS had all expressed interest in replicating the prototype.
He acknowledged all district 24 members who assisted with designing and coordinating the trailer’s production, passing on particular thanks to Beechworth Urban Brigade Secretary Doug Gavin.
“Doug’s contribution and passion for this project cannot be underestimated,” Paul said.
In 2014 District 24 introduced another ‘mobile’ health and wellbeing initiative, a cool room trailer with the capacity to carry large volumes of cold drinking water (read more here).
The toilet trailer was built by prisoners at the Beechworth Correctional Centre, and the project made possible through contributions from the Beechworth Urban and Rural Fire Brigades, Yackandandah Fire Brigade, Barnawartha Fire Brigade, Bright Fire Brigade, and a Woolworths community donation.
Joining the Mobile Cool Room, the toilet trailer will be based year-round at CFA’s District 24 Headquarters in Wodonga.