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CFA crew safety tested
An experimental planned burn at the Brucknell Park Scout Camp, east of Warrnambool, has successfully tested crew protection systems on a range of CFA tankers.
The experiment, conducted with CSIRO researchers, involved a high intensity burn simulating a burnover scenario to validate the existing crew protection system on a CFA medium tanker.
CFA’s Manager Research and Innovation David Nichols said the burn also field-tested two crew protection systems for CFA ultra-light tankers.
The experiment was conducted on a research block of almost 1 hectare in forest with vegetation that is found in the Otway Ranges, and other forest areas in Victoria.
“During the burn, extensive data was collected on the fire behaviour and the impact of the fire on the vehicles with fire-spread data loggers, standard and infrared video cameras, thermocouples which record temperatures and radiometers which record radiant heat within the fire,” he said.
“It successfully tested crew protection systems which are currently installed on all CFA medium tankers and successfully tested technologically advanced protection systems with the view to install these on ultra-light tankers.
“Although deployment of crew protection systems are uncommon, they are a vital tool for firefighters to use to protect themselves if they are caught in a burnover situation.”
CFA South West Region volunteers and staff assisted with the burn with planning, logistics, implementation, and fire suppression activities.
Mr Nichols said fuel reduction burns around the research block were conducted prior to 17 March to reduce potential risk.
“The area around the Brucknell Scout Camp had not been burnt since Ash Wednesday in 1983, so the burn had achieved protection objectives too.
“CFA and CSIRO staff will analyse the data gathered during the research burn and report back to the agencies within Victoria and other partner agencies within Australia.”