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Continuous improvement, hoselaying and hydration
Changes To Incidents Page On CFA Web Site:
After listening to concerns expressed by members of the public, CFA has re-introduced detail on the District number and the number of appliances at incidents on the CFA website. At the same time, CFA, DSE and the Fire Services Commissioner have been reviewing advice and warning messaging associated with recent incidents. In particular, the process for updating our website and the process for issuing updates on social media such as twitter and the CFA Facebook page. The use of social media for warnings is still new. We are learning as we go and continuously improving.
Scoresby Hoselaying Exercise:
Congratulations to Scoresby Brigade - in particular to Knox Group Training Officer Ian Atherton and Scoresby LFF Glenn Bosua - who recently conducted a major pumping and hoselay exercise at Caribbean Gardens. Crews from Scoresby, Wonga Park, Dandenong, Ferntree Gully, Upper Ferntree Gully, Menzies Creek, Warrandyte, South Warrandyte, Mount Evelyn, Boronia, Belgrave, The Basin, Badger Creek, Yarra Glen, Badger Creek and Montrose participated. The drill illustrated the large numbers of trucks and personnel required to sustain water to a single 3.4 tanker hose stream. With a distance of less than 2 kilometres to the water fill point, a ten tanker shuttle was required to keep the water up to the primary tanker. Using an alternate strategy deploying a 90mm hose line from the fill point, only 2 extra tankers were required to supply water. The exercise then went on to use various combinations of closed relay from a fill point to pumpers and tankers using both small diameter and large diameter single and twin lines with multiple water delivery points, including feeding the Dandenong aerial platform. The key lesson learned was the value of specialist knowledge in hydraulics, friction loss and appliance pump volume and flow characteristics.
So far this summer we have had a number of heat / dehydration incidents involving members in operations. We have reinforced heat health by issuing a revised Operations Bulletin. The Bulletin stresses that, whilst heat stress is one of the top three causes of injury in bushfire operations, it is also an increasing problem in structure firefighting. On hot days, the additional radiant heat and humidity caused by firefighting operations (for example when ventilating from the roof) can become significant. The Bulletin reinforces the importance of eating well and keeping hydrated as a routine practice; pre-hydrating en route to a fire (particularly on hot days); rotating crew members through hot tasks and sensible wearing of protective clothing - particularly when in a safe zone. Heat stress caution needs to be exercised at all times, but may be a problem from temperatures as low as 30 degrees C.
Safety When Driving CFA Vehicles - Take Care Out There:
CFA operates a fleet over 1600 firefighting vehicles. Our members are on the road around the clock and in all sorts of weather, road and environmental conditions and obviously in situations where there are other road users. Because much of our driving is under emergency conditions, the risk of incident or injury is even greater. In the last 4 weeks I am aware of four incidents resulting in significant vehicle damage and a further two involving damage sustained by impact with fire station doors. Fortunately, there has been no injury to CFA members or to members of the public. I just want to reinforce two things: Firstly, that the risks associated with driving CFA vehicles is real. I urge you to continue to take the utmost care out there. Secondly, to reinforce that, as a driver of a CFA vehicle, you assume a responsibility for the vehicle, its passengers and for other road users. This is an onerous responsibility that must be borne in mind at al times.
Hard Rations On CFA Vehicles:
"You never know where your next meal might not come from." There are many emergencies that may call us away for extended periods. It may be hours before arrangements for food and water can be made. Every CFA vehicle should carry adequate hard rations to sustain the crew in the field for at least the first meal. Even my vehicle has some cans of cold spaghetti in the boot!
“If I had to live my life again, I’d make the same mistakes, only sooner.” - Tallulah Bankhead