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Pump up the volume
District 14’s Research and Eltham brigades have an evolving risk on their back doors.
Away from the suburban build up and into the rolling – often steep hill country – large homes on acreage have been built in increasing numbers, some without mains water supply and others outside the reticulated street mains network.
So how well prepared are Research and Eltham crews to tackle a structure fire in one of these large homes? And what about an incident when water supply was limited?
A joint drafting exercise would help answer these questions and sharpen skills.
“One of the biggest skills firefighters on the urban fringe need is the ability to draft water out of dams and creeks as a back up to mains supply,” said Research volunteer firefighter Bruce Selleck. “That’s why it was imperative that we did this training with Eltham brigade.”
For Eltham Station Officer Glenn Bosua, the joint exercise “was a chance to put the Eltham pumper into a rural environment.”
“We wanted to highlight to other members that the pumper is an option when you are looking to pump high volumes,” said Glenn.
The exercise started by drafting water out of a dam using Research’s medium tanker and pumping the water up the hill to the Eltham pumper.
“From there, we were able to work out how many tankers we needed to successfully fight the fire,” added Glenn.
The team then put added Eltham's medium tanker on to the dam and ran a second line of 65mm hose into the pumper.
“We now know that we can put four trucks on the dam, run hoses up the hill and clip all four into the pumper. This way we are good to go until the dam runs out,” said Research Captain Neville Stewart who, with Eltham’s Glenn Bosua and 1st Lieutenant Steve Riley, was the main instigators of the training.
Glenn was enthused by what his brigade got out of the exercise. “It was great for our people to see all of Research’s capabilities. For instance, how the brigade utilises its ultralight tanker, having the opportuntiy to look at the new Research FRV and gaining an understanding of its capabilities for for incident control. All of this was well worthwhile."
Research’s Bruce Selleck was similarly impressed. “We need the Eltham staff as much as they need us. If we’re working with them on a structure job, we need their appliance to work at it maximum for the people who own the place. Interoperability between brigades and appliances helps achieve that.
“We wear the same badge. We are one CFA,” said Bruce.