(left to right): Chief Officer Jason Heffernan, ACFO Rick Owen, DCO Garry Cook with Juliana Addison MP, Ballarat Fire Brigade members and Commander Mark Verdoorn
Ballarat Fire Brigade is one of ten CFA brigades to receive a new set of battery-operated road crash rescue tools to bolster the existing capabilities of the specialist CFA brigades.
Each set of battery-operated tools contains four tools: a combination tool, spreader tool, hydraulic ram, and cutter, which don’t require an external power source and are waterproof, allowing greater access to road crash victims, including in drains and waterways.
The ten sets of tools were jointly funded by the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) and CFA, at a total investment of $800,000.
While all CFA brigades respond to motor vehicle accidents, CFA has 21 Road Crash Rescue Principal Providers across the state which have specialised equipment to perform rescues.
CFA Deputy Chief Officer for Operational Response and Coordination Garry Cook said CFA responded to 4,290 motor vehicle accidents across the state in 2020, with more than 170 of those callouts requiring a CFA rescue crew, and around 80 people needing to be cut out of vehicles.
“Our volunteers are often saving people from horrific situations so it’s important we provide them the best possible equipment make their job easier and help save lives,” he said.
Ballarat Fire Brigade Captain Mark Cartledge said the new tools means crews can access the scene quickly and get straight to work.
“Being battery operated allows us to park the truck remotely from the scene removing the need to run hydraulic hoses, which also reduces safety risks to crews,” he said.
“Our brigade sees a spike in motor vehicle accidents during the Christmas period, including New Years.
“As volunteers, we don’t log off. We are always ready to respond. We often need to leave functions early or leave our beds in the middle of the night or during Christmas celebrations.
“We urge people to be careful on the roads as nobody wants their loved ones involved in a road accident.
“We would like to thank TAC, CFA and our Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Specialist Response Rick Owen for their continued support with this important equipment program."
- Demonstration of the equipment
- Battery operated tools