News & Media

New FCV for Phillip Island brigade

By: Duncan Russell

Category: Vehicles / Equipment / Buildings

  5.17 PM 21 July, 2014

Location: District 8 News

Views: 6540

Phillip Island brigade recently replaced its current car, a 2010 Nissan Patrol station wagon, with a new 2014 model Toyota Landcruiser GXL twin-cab/chassis fitted with a rear gull-wing pod on the tray.

By 4th Lt Rod Barford, Phillip Island brigade

The 4.5 litre, V8-powered Landcruiser 4WD is a welcome addition to the brigade's fleet of four vehicles, and also provides a power-match to the existing 2007 Landcruiser slip-on.

In addition to the already impressive GXL features, it's also fitted with a snorkel, bull bar, 12,000lb Warn winch, IPF driving lights, fog lights, canvas seat covers, bucket floor mats, overhead centre console, UHF radio (along with an array of CFA radio equipment).

The vehicle became operational in mid-June and has already fulfilled the brigade's expectations.

The rear pod, manufactured by Ute Pod of Meeniyan in Sth Gippsland, is a very high quality bit of gear. It features side gull-wing doors on gas struts, with strip lighting and optional on-off switch, which provide ample light even on a cloudy day. The drawer system is so spacious it accommodates almost everything that was in the rear of the old Nissan Patrol, leaving a cavernous space in the pod.

The sliding drawer unit also features an expansive rubber-matted cargo space, which easily accommodates up to six BA cylinder cases for safe and secure transportation.

The tray also has two under-tray lockers, one of which accommodates salvage gear like snatch straps, chains, etc, while the other easily takes a full slab of 600ml water bottles.

As the brigade is a Specialist Response brigade, the FCV is also fitted with a thermal imaging camera (TIC) charging station to carry the brigade's TIC whenever it is requested by another brigade, as happened a couple of weeks ago at a structure fire in Wonthaggi. An important feature of this setup is the provision of two twin 12-volt outlets, which provide power for the TIC charger and any other incidental uses such as mobile phones, laptops, etc.

It has also been fitted with a 2.5kg dry chemical fire extinguisher, four fold-up chairs, red blankets, AED, oxygen therapy unit, first-aid bag, burns bag, and some firefighting gear (standpipe, two 30m lengths 38mm, wildfire branches, etc.), and a Waeco 40-litre refrigerator/freeezer on a slide-out mounting.

The pod features pre-drilled rear struts in place to take future spare wheel mounting and jerry can carrier.

The vehicle is also being equipped as a Strike Team Leader's vehicle, with appropriate magnetic signage and communications equipment. An additional after-market feature is the seat organiser which not only takes all CFA map books and other directories but also has a fold-down tray table to assist the penciller when on strike team deployment.

It can also be quickly and easily detached from the tray as a standalone unit, using the provided four steel legs with wind-up handles, enabling the vehicle to be driven away from under it. This provides the additional capacity to be used as a remote incident control unit.

Special thanks to Hayden at Eltham Autobarn for a great electrical and comms fit-out.

Already packed with features, the new FCV has already attracted a host of new ideas from brigade members for new additions, some of which will appear very soon - swing down whiteboards on each gull-wing door for example.

Other possibilities include a 42-litre on-board drinking water tank and roof-mounted solar panels with deep-cycle battery inside the pod to provide a short-term power supply.

So watch this space!

Photos: Rod Barford

Last Updated: 21 July 2014