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New FOV full of features
A new Field Operations Vehicle built for CFA’s Westernport Group will have full CFA network connectivity and incorporate visual feeds from three types of cameras – including a 4-metre extendable ‘mast’ camera.
The vehicle, now in the final stages of production at Bell Environmental, also features an enhanced design for its satellite dish and stabilisers, and an awning to measure wind speed and weather conditions.
Last week, Westernport Group Officer David Gibbs and CFA Specialist Response Officer Craig Brownlie conducted what they hoped would be the final inspection of the vehicle.
Craig said the Westernport FOV was the eighth vehicle of this style CFA had built, and while the overall concept had stayed the same, there were ‘huge’ improvements on the previous model.
‘We’ve taken the previous seven, and we’ve learnt from how they’ve worked in the field,” he said.
“There have been a whole heap of operational improvements to make sure these vehicles are contemporary.”
Take a tour of the new FOV with Craig Brownlie:
Westernport Group has worked closely with CFA to a lead role in designing this next-generation vehicle, which will be used as a communications and control hub at fire or other incidents.
David Gibbs said the Westernport Group said he was excited about the vehicle’s capacity to provide a rapid flow of information to Incident Control Centres and to the community.
“In the past our Field Operations Vehicles have been primarily focused on fireground communications,” David said.
“Now we are flipping that around to put more emphasis on getting information out to communities.”
Group Officer David Gibbs talks about the vehicle:
David said the kind of technology and capability being incorporated into the FOV would give firefighters more flexibility and rapid information flow, and help bridge the gap between fireground and ICC.
At no time is this kind of capability more important than in the early stages of a serious incident, and fires that move and threaten fast are of particular concern to brigades serving the Mornington Peninsula area, with its high rate of urban growth and large tracts of urban interface land.
“The Peninsula area is unlikely to see the kind of campaign fires that burn for days or weeks, but the fires we do have are likely to hit fast and have high impact,” David pointed out.
The Field Operations Vehicle is expected to come into full service by October at the latest, after undergoing final checks and the development of training materials. It was acquired by the Westernport Group via a VESEP grant.
To mirror summer fireground conditions, part of the performance testing will take place under extreme temperatures at Australian Defence Force facilities.
Craig said with so much technology on board, the final touches and testing needed to be done with care.
“There are a lot of moving parts that need to work.”