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CFA brigades test foam at coal mine
Two CFA brigades recently tried out the first compressed air foam equipment for CFA, in a training exercise at Loy Yang Coal Mine in the Latrobe Valley.
Last month (November) Churchill and Traralgon South fire brigade members joined Loy Yang’s on-site fire and rescue crew to work through a simulated exercise where a fire was threatening a multi-million dollar dredger.
Firefighters worked together to spray a protective layer of foam over part of the coal mine batter, which acts as a fire retardant while also suppressing smoke.
Churchill and Traralgon South are two of the first CFA brigades to start using this firefighting method.
Churchill Fire Brigade member Rob Langston said it was the first time either brigade had tried out their new compressed air foam equipment on such a large scale.
“Everything went well and it was a valuable exercise in testing our communications processes as well,” Rob said.
“It was also good to work with the on-site emergency team at Loy Yang because they are our main contacts for these sites in emergencies. It helped us develop a better understanding about how their crew operates and test our processes in relation to how we work together.”
The compressed air foam equipment was fitted on to existing fire trucks in April last year and the capability was added as a result of the Hazelwood Mine Fire Inquiry.
“We can use foam in all sorts of situations, not just for coal mine fires,” Rob said.
“From blacking out to asset protection, compressed air foam can help our brigades better protect our communities when threatened by fire.”
CFA brigades conduct regular exercises with large assets like Loy Yang to test emergency procedures across all stakeholders.