Forestry industry prepares for summer

Bushfires can have a detrimental effect on the timber industry and the community as a whole. Forestry industry brigades play an important role when it comes to fire prevention and suppression.

On 29 September Timberlands Pacific conducted its pre-season training in Mt Gambier.

The day began with a briefing from Jeff Cownie, Captain of Forest Trust FIB at Timberlands Nursery in Dohels Rd, Mt Gambier, before moving on to the first exercise which involved a fitness test of crews.

Exercise 1

Crews were given a grid reference which they had to navigate to in their assigned vehicles. Upon reaching the location, crews were required to walk a 4km circuit around Crater Lake with rake hoes (which is a slightly challenging walk).

Upon completion of the walk an after action review was conducted where each person was given the opportunity to discuss their own fitness level and what they can do to improve their general fitness and wellbeing, before returning to Timberlands Nursery.

Exercise 2

Back at the Nursery, with clipboard and paper, each tanker crew was required to write a procedure to start pump and deliver class A foam from their tanker. This procedure (written by the crews) will be laminated and kept in the tanker for future reference.

Once the procedure was completed each crew member had to operate the pump and deliver class A foam to the branch. This is to ensure all members know how to operate the pump and identify issues that may occur from time to time and how to overcome those issues.

Timberlands provided a fantastic BBQ lunch for all members, which gave time to reflect on the morning's activities and to discuss the finer points of pump operations. 

Exercise 3

Tankers and crews navigated over sandy terrain to a location in Pine Plantations, as per the six-figure grid reference supplied. Upon arrival crews ran out two canvas hoses plus the dead reel with branch to deliver water and class A foam.

During the exercise tankers sounded their siren to alert ground crews to return to their tanker to conduct a burnover drill.

After the burnover drill, there was an after action review to discuss what went well what we need to improve.

Exercise 4

Crews returned to the Nursery and draughted water to fill tankers. Crews wrote a draughting procedure for their tanker.

There are a number of training exercises planned across the industry over the next month by a number of forestry industry brigades to ensure personnel are prepared and industry firefighter skills are maintained. It's important to point out the contribution that forestry industry brigades provide to fire suppression and prevention efforts across the state, and pre-season training is one way forestry industry personnel keep themselves prepared to respond to fires when required.

Author: Ian Hamley