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Snow season 'game changer'

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“They’re just like a mini fire truck, and because they’ve got that mobility, they can go straight to an incident.”

Snow season 'game changer'

The Can-Am's speed and mobility are critical in battling Alpine fires

CFA Engineer, Joel Reid, said the new Can-Am Side-by-Sides were a "game-changer" when it came to fighting fires in the snow.

“Their job is to provide crew transport within the village to the fire station, to then be able to respond the appropriate appliances to the emergency.”

Equipped with snow tracks and able to reach speeds up to 40km/hr, the quick response vehicles are able to traverse all types of terrain, with two each stationed at Mt Buller, Mt Hotham and Falls Creek.

"They give brigades the flexibility to respond to emergencies quicker and provide support before the primary appliances arrive," Joel said. 

“So they’ve made a huge difference in crew transportation and responding to a range of emergencies in the alpine environment.”

CFA District 24 Commander, Lyndon Bradley, said one Can-Am per mountain had also been fitted with a range of enhancements to boost their capability.

“There’s a pod on the rear for two breathing apparatus, fire extinguishers as well as an attack and lay pack and forcible entry equipment,” he said.

“Inside the cabin, there’s a thermal imaging camera, CFA radios, and soon they’re going to be decked out with headsets to improve communication.

“They manoeuvre just like a car and are really easy to drive in all conditions,” Commander Bradley said.

“They can respond to a wide range of incidents, and are also used to transport extra crews, supply and equipment

CFA receives about 80 call-outs across the three mountains each alpine season.

 

 

Lieutenant Sevie La Roche is among CFA members taking advantage of the new Can-Ams

CFA Ski-Doos work alongside the Can-Ams

Caterpillar tread means the Can-Ams can go almost anywhere