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Compressed Air Foam trucks on display
A new tanker capable of delivering thousands of litres of compressed air foam has made its public debut in the Latrobe Valley today (Friday, 6 February).
Almost a year on from the Hazelwood Mine Fire, Emergency Services Minister Jane Garrett, Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley, Assistant Chief Officer South East Region Trevor Owen and District 27 Operations Manager Bill Johnstone met to discuss progress being made by the Coal Mine Emergency Management Taskforce.
Formed to examine emergency preparedness for Victoria's brown coal mining industry, Task Force Director Peter Schmidt briefed Minister Garrett on a number of initiatives, including the trial of 2 new Compressed Air Foam System (CAFS) tankers which will soon be based in the Latrobe Valley.
Operations Manager Johnstone said the trial was a result of the success using CAFS technology during the 2014 mine fire.
"It's 4000 litres of water which has been retrofitted with a compressed air foam system, so that gives us an ability to project compressed air foam which was proven to be very effective in coalmine firefighting," Mr Johnstone said.
"But it's bigger than that, it gives us the capability to deal with other "A" class fires, haystacks, peat fires, rubbish tip fires which are traditionally very difficult to put out and burn for long periods."
Once final commissioning has been completed the trucks will be based in the Latrobe Valley and available to a wide area.
"These units will be located at Churchill and Traralgon South, that's where we'll house them but they will be part of a broader district and indeed Gippsland capability. While they'll be allocated there they won't actually belong directly to the brigade. It's more of a state resource than a brigade resource."
Mr Johnstone said training for members on the new trucks would begin next week.
As part of her visit, Minister Garrett took a helicopter tour of the three Latrobe Valley Mines.