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Equipment & Infrastructure Committee

Equipment & Infrastructure Committee (16)

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:59

2 Minute Briefing - Equipment & Infrastructure

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 19/11/2016)

TANKER REAR DECK POD PROTOTYPE BECOMES A REALITY

For a number of years now, VFBV has been advocating for CFA to explore rear deck pods to trial as a possible replacement for rear deck ROPS, similar to those used in the mining industry. Ever since CFA’s decision to no longer manufacture rear deck ROPS and move exclusively to twin cab cab-chassis’, and the loss of DAH’s (Deck access hatches) volunteers have been raising concerns about the difficulty in accessing the rear deck area during jobs requiring crews to frequently move between the cab and the rear deck. The committee has been advocating for CFA to investigate the European body builders, where it has become common practice to purchase a single cab chassis and then build a crew area connected to the cabin as part of the body. This has a number of advantages including; that in a burn over situation all crew on the deck can quickly and safely return to the cabin; a reduction in crew fatigue across long fire-ground shifts; and greater safety when travelling to and from the fire ground and protection from smoke and embers.


The Committee was provided a tour and inspection of a Bell Engineering Heavy Tanker Pod Prototype, by Managing Director Robert Bell. The prototype is a ‘pod’ type construction which can be modified to slip onto any cab chassis. The ROP or rear cabin is fully self contained, very ‘roomy’ and has a large window with viewing access to the cabin and full size door access to the rear deck. A front mounted monitor, crew protection sprays, digital water level indicators on the sides as well as the back, ample storage lockers and an optional hydraulic BA lifter for easy operation are some of the great features. The Committee has requested that Bell Engineering consider loaning the prototype to CFA early next year so that a roadshow can be planned for members to view and inspect the prototype. Mr Bell has generously agreed, and VFBV extends its gratitude and appreciation to Mr Bell and the Bell Engineering Team, and congratulates them on their continued innovation, collaboration and support of Victorian fire services.

BURNOVER VEHICLE ENTRAPMENT RESEARCH - VIDEO

Following a presentation to the Committee earlier in the year from CFA’s Research & Development team, the Committee requested that CFA use this research to create a new burn-over training video that uses historical vision and vision from field testing filmed in February this year. The research team closely duplicated conditions similar to those experienced during the tragic Linton Fires in 1998 to test the response of CFA’s crew protection systems.


Three vehicles were tested, a tanker with ROP and crew protection, an Ultra-light with Gel coating and an Ultra light with foam coating. All vehicles were relatively unscathed with the temperature in the cabin of the tanker sitting at around 40 degrees whilst the outside temperature rose well above 600 degrees. The Committee has provided feedback on the new video, and has requested that a fact sheet be attached and be released along with SOP 9.32 ‘Entrapment Procedure’ for Brigades to use for their pre-summer training. CFA has released an online version on their facebook page.

This type of research is critical to ensuring firefighter safety and educating members on how the crew protection safety systems work, build confidence in those systems and the importance of situational awareness & entrapment procedures.

ROP CUSHION PROTOTYPE

Arcadia Brigade members briefed the committee on a prototype cushion for use in vehicles with rear deck roll over protection. As many would have experienced, the solid fibreglass ROP seat can be hard on your back and very slippery when cornering. The cushions have multiple functions in regards to firefighter safety, back injury reduction and firefighter comfort on long duration shifts amongst them. The Committee has requested they be field tested by 3 brigades in district 22 and will also be offered for testing by brigades in other Districts over the summer whilst analysis is completed.

The Committee had previously authorised a VESEP grant to support the trial, and VFBV thanks the Arcadia Fire Brigade for this pro-active initiative. A proban, a nomex and a marine canvas version are being field and burn tested over the summer.

Issue 14: December 2015

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 21/11/2015)

FIRE STATION MODIFICATIONS Responding to feedback from Brigades contemplating minor works, alterations or additions to fire stations through the VESEP program, the committee has endorsed a new registration process that will now be available year round & apply to all proposed works up to the value of $75,000. (Or over if the Brigade proposes to fully fund the initiative) Due to the long lead times to get accurate quotes and approvals, Brigades can now register and plan for minor works well before they apply for a potential grant. The registration process involves the Brigade providing a brief description of the proposed works, an estimate of the cost, funding source and nomination of a Brigade contact. CFA Land & Building will then work with the Brigade to undertake an initial desk top review of the proposed scope of works, undertake a site inspection where required, and a cost assessment prior to the Brigade seeking local approval to proceed. Brigades wishing to register a project or simply seek assistance in planning a project can contact CFA’s Bruce Rowley who is the VESEP Minor Works Project Manager on (03) 5833 2425 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Start planning for next year’s VESEP round now!

ULTRA - LIGHT & SLIP-ON CREW PROTECTION SYSTEMS

The committee continues to work on investigating efficient and effective crew protection systems for CFA’s light vehicles. There are over 150 ultra-light tankers and slip-ons vehicles that were not covered under the crew protection system retrofit program due to a lack of an appropriate protection system for small vehicles. Therefore, crews of these appliances have very limited protection against radiant heat and direct flame contact in the event of a burn-over. Two new products are now being evaluated which includes a Polymer Gel System and a Compressed Air Foam System. Both products have shown very promising early signs, with experimental testing during field burn-overs in moderate bushfire intensity conditions planned for early Autumn 2016. The committee will continue to update members on developments.

15/16 FINANCIAL YEAR FLEET REPLACEMENT PROGRAM UPDATE

The 15/16 Fleet Capital Replacement Program is on target, with all production lines well progressed and on target for completion this financial year. (Base, VESEP & Special) This year’s program is delivering; 40 Heavy Tankers, 28 Medium Tankers, 12 Medium Pumpers, 10 Light Tankers, 7 Ultra-light Tankers, 3 BigFills, 2 Replacement Tech Rescue Cab Chassis, 2 prototype Bulk Water carriers, 1 Medium Rescue, 1 Prototype BA Van, and 1 G Wagon (DELWP).

COLD CLIMATE JACKET PROGRESS

Development on the Cold Climate jackets is well progressed, with results from the state-wide field evaluation being considered by the committee.

84 evaluation jackets were sent out (4 per CFA District) for evaluation. Over 100 individual evaluation responses has been received and studied, with feedback overwhelmingly positive. The committee has endorsed the jackets now progressing to Stage 1 implementation, with 2 minor changes made to the specification.

Some feedback indicated that there was some unwanted tightness in the sleeves. The specifications have now been updated to provide a more relaxed fit in the sleeves. There was also considerable feedback that the jackets were sometimes mistaken for the green nomex structural jackets, so orange reflective tape has now been added to the jacket to make it visually easier to identify these as cold climate jackets.

The committee has endorsed the revised specifications with the jacket now to proceed to tender.

Full details of the Stage 1 implementation will be made public in early 2016, with delivery and rollout expected to be completed by June 2016.

Stage 1 of this program is being funded through a successful joint CFA/VFBV State Initiative through the 2015 VESEP program and is being conducted in collaboration with the State PPE & C Consultative Committee.

Issue 14: October 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 29/08/15)

 

VEHICLE WEIGHT CALCULATIONS

Delegates raised concern about conflicting information that has come out from CFA with regards to how to calculate a light vehicle’s weight (FCV/FOV etc).

Some communications has referred to 100kg being calculated for every seat belt/passenger the vehicle is capable of transporting, whereas other documents have quoted 114kg. The Committee agreed that the current CFA standard is to use 100kg for passenger weight calculations, noting that the VicRoads standard is 68kg.

CFA will be requesting AFAC consider a national standard for fire services to use, but in the meantime 100kg will remain the CFA standard. CFA will soon be writing to all OM’s and OO’s advising of the standard, and to ignore any reference to 114kg, which should assist with any queries from the field.

CLASS B FOAM CHANGEOVER

CFA has now authorized funding to change over all Class B foam from the current Tridol brand foam to a fluoro surfactant free type.

This new foam was supported by both the VFBV and UFU through CFA’s Foam Working party. This is the same Class B Foam used by the MFB, and will enable the ban on CFA vehicles carrying class B foam to VEMTC Craigieburn to be lifted.

Whilst fluoro surfactant free type foams do have a slightly reduced performance, the interoperability, environmental and health & safety advantages were determined to outweigh the reduced performance concerns. Changeover of all CFA vehicles (approx. 370) carrying Class B Foam will occur over the next six months, and trucks will be needed by the DMOs for up to 3 days which includes pickup, changeover and delivery back to the brigade.

CFA has advised that updates to foam training materials and info sheets is currently underway in order to support the changeover and educate members on the differences.

WARRANTY UPGRADE TO ALL WATER COOLED BELL UHPS’s

As a result of a number of starter motor faults, a warranty upgrade is being undertaken on all water cooled Bell UHPSs (Ultra High Pressure Systems).

This affects all Medium Tankers built after June 2014 plus any retrofitted 4.4R Heavy Tankers. Work will include the fitment of a cold start “glow plug” functionality; fitting of additional vibration support under the pump to minimize excessive vibrations; extra decaling on the UHPS Control Panel; and an upgrade to the operating manual which will include a single page flyer detailing the work undertaken on the vehicle. By agreement with Bell, the work will occur on site at brigades, and will be undertaken directly by Bell technicians.

The program has started and is hoped to be completed before the start of the FDP. Works takes approx. 2.5hrs per vehicle. Captains should receive 24 hours’ notice of when their vehicle is due for upgrading. Any questions should be directed to your local DMO’s.

MEDIUM TANKER MID PRODUCTION UPDATE

The Medium Tankers have received a mid-production update. These updates are provided to pick up on small incremental improvements which can be accommodated in existing production runs by agreement with the manufacturers.

Included in this year’s update are; a new removable tray under the chainsaw to aid in cleaning the chainsaw locker; the adding of a pinch weld to the top edge of the helmet holders located on the B post stiffener in the cab; the blanket locker has been made higher with a shelf added at the top to allow some storage of drinks and other small items; deck access door catches have been removed from the floor; LED scene lights, spotlights and tray lighting to replace halogen lights and baffle balls are being replaced by baffle bones to better improve the reduction of excessive water movement in the tank.

The largest change is the Hino cab chassis will now be fitted with a 5 speed automatic transmission. This transmission has been tested by CFA with an improved exhaust retardation system to improve the tanker’s handling when descending steep slopes. To support the change in transmission, a train the trainer course is being developed focussing on the new driving aspects. The first refreshed Medium Tanker is expected in early November 2015.

Issue 13: July 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 20/06/15)

2015 PROTOTYPE HEAVY TANKER

The Prototype Heavy Tanker has now finished its roadshow around the State, and travelled 11,000 kilometres visiting 95 locations across every CFA District, and was viewed by, in excess of 1,200 CFA members. The Committee is greatly appreciative of CFA’s agreement to the roadshow, which follows the successful road show of the Medium Pumper – both of which demonstrate the high level of interest and passion our members have for CFA vehicles, and the valuable contribution members can have in their future design.

The Committee has received the first draft of feedback, and will be provided full details from the questionnaire that accompanied the Tanker out of session. Initial feedback indicates a high degree of satisfaction with the cabin and cab chassis, but quite poor satisfaction with the equipment and stowage layout, including the rear deck area.

The Committee has requested improved operational input into CFA’s design team, in order to provide more practical advice into the design and layout. Driver evaluation from experienced personnel has also highlighted the need for dedicated and in-depth driver training to support members transitioning from older vehicles, especially those new to automated manual transmissions, which bring their own idiosyncrasies at lower speeds or steep terrain, which members will need to be trained for.

BRIGADE OWNED VEHICLE INSURANCE UPDATE

Following VFBV’s request for CFA to review and provide greater support to brigades in its insurance arrangements for brigade owned vehicles, significant progress has been achieved.

CFA has agreed to VFBV’s request for Brigades to be covered for the gap between the pre-accident value (PAV) used to insure the vehicle, and the final cost to the brigade in having the vehicle replaced. Included in the new arrangements are instant cover for all new vehicles which will see new for old applied to all vehicles up to 24 months of age. (Doubling the existing arrangement which only ran for 12 months).

For older vehicles, an annual provision has been established under the Volunteer Emergency Service Equipment Program to cover any gap between the PAV and the final cost to the Brigade for any like for like replacement of written off BOV’s. These arrangements should provide Brigades with a much higher degree of confidence that any damages sustained to vehicles will be covered, and will not result in brigades being any worse off in the case of a major accident either on or off the fire ground.

TANKER MICROPHONE NOISE

Earlier in the year, the committee requested Fleet Services investigate the high number of complaints being received from brigades re the performance of ROPS intercoms, prevalent in most single cab chassis tankers. After investigations, a new intercom filter is now available that will help prevent some of the microphone noise when the intercoms are being used. These are now available through the DMO’S. Brigade’s need to ensure that they are reporting any faults or issues with the intercoms to the DMO’s so that they can undertake the appropriate fixes.

NEW – SEAT BELT INHIBITOR CLIPS

A seat belt inhibitor clip has now been approved, and is available through CFA. The clip is designed to stop the seat belt from retracting when a person gets in and out of a vehicle as is common when traversing bush tracks and terrain. The clips are only to be used for off-road situations, and prevents circumstances when a vehicle is on steep terrain and the person gets out of the vehicle, and when they return the seat belt locks itself in place and cannot be drawn to put back on. It has been ascertained that the fitting of these clips will in no way affect the integrity or locking mechanism of the seat belt.

Issue 12: April 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 21/03/15)

MAJOR INCIDENT DAMAGE

The committee was advised by CFA that the DMOs had identified a number of vehicles that were damaged throughout the year but the damage had not been reported. The damage was only picked up when they went in for their annual service. It was later found that this damage occurred at a major incident. Major incidents are declared internally by agreement between CFA and Government, and is used to reimburse CFA of costs incurred during major incidents which is above and beyond normal business. Brigades are reminded of the importance of reporting any damage incurred to a vehicle as soon as it happens. In the case of major incidents – this damage is covered by the major incident insurance, and not CFA – thus if damage is not reported until after the major incident reporting case is closed by Government, it can no longer be claimed back through the major incident, and has to be picked up by CFA which impacts local budgeting.

2015 VESEP Program

The Minister announced the opening of the 2015/16 program on Monday 16 March. Applications are due to your Operations Manager by 27th April.

VFBV developed and posted a VFBV Application Help Pack to every Brigade and Group on the 20th March. This pack has been designed to provide advice and tips to Brigades in completing a successful VESEP application. Brigades who were not ready for this year’s program are encouraged to start preparing for next year’s round now, while it is still fresh and on your mind.

Successful applications are expected to be announced by the Minister late July 2015.

2015 PROTOTYPE HEAVY TANKER

The committee inspected the 2015 Heavy Tanker prototype, which is due to go on its State-wide roadshow tour between March through to May 2015. The new prototype is a 4,000 litre Iveco crew cab, with a 2 stage Isuzu water cooled diesel engine pump rated at 1,200 lpm @ 700kpa.

Based on the successful roadshow tours of the Medium Tanker a couple of years ago, and the Medium Pumper earlier this year, Brigades are encouraged to attend these roadshow visits, to provide feedback and commentary on the prototype. All feedback from the roadshow is documented and reviewed by the Committee in order to inform the final build, so your comments and feedback are extremely valuable and important.

For a list of dates and locations for when it will be in your patch, please contact your Operations Manager or ACO.

FIRE STATION DESIGN

The committee has flagged with CFA its intent to conduct a major review of current Fire Station designs and the process that is followed with Brigades during the design and consultation stages throughout the build. VFBV continues to receive a number of complaints about new builds, and the intent of the review is to examine if these are just isolated problems, or larger more systemic issues that might require more attention. CFA delegates to the committee have expressed their support to be involved in the review and the committee has agreed to proceed jointly, with a workshop with CFA Land and Buildings staff scheduled for the next meeting to kick off the process. Updates will be provided as the review progresses. Any Brigades who have recently been involved in a new Station build, are encouraged to discuss your experience with your local State councillor or Committee delegate, so as to help inform the review.

Issue 11: December 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 08/11/14)

BRIGADE OWNED VEHICLE INSURANCE

The committee is still actively pursuing this issue. If a vehicle is ‘written off”, CFA’s current practice is that insurance provides the brigade with the vehicle’s market value and it is up to the brigade to fund any difference in replacing the vehicle. VFBV have raised objections as this practice differs to CFA owned vehicles which are replaced with any cost difference between the replacement and original vehicle funded centrally. Whilst current CFA practice aligns with insurance best practice, it completely ignores the fact that CFA vehicles can’t simply be bought ‘off the shelf’. It is the committees view that if a brigade vehicle is written off CFA should do everything it can to support the brigade replace a vehicle as soon as possible and policy must acknowledge and cater for those situations where brigades can’t simply buy a comparative aged vehicle at the current market ‘value’. VFBV is advocating for CFA to arrange insurance based on pre-agreed replacement value, not market value. VFBV has provided advice to a draft paper being prepared for CFA ELT and is educating decision makers on the possible effects of the loss of brigade confidence in insurance that may have an impact on brigades willingness to releasing their vehicles to support outside their immediate area.

FCV & TRANSPORT VEHICLE WEIGHT ISSUES

The committee has been in discussions with CFA for some time trying to resolve weight issues with operational light vehicles (those under a 4.5 GVM). Vehicles over their GVM legally expose the driver, owner (if still using a brigade nominee) and CFA in the event of a serious or fatal collision.

CFA is currently embarking on a program to arrange for the inspection & weighing of all operational transport vehicles (FCV’s & cars etc) to record and identify any overweight vehicles. Those vehicles overweight will either be restricted in passenger capacity or have to remove items of stowage to bring them under GVM.

CFA has agreed to the committee’s request to publish & keep current a list of most common vehicles bought by brigades and their GVM, tare weight and available payload. We need to educate brigades on the low available weight of some vehicles to help them make informed decisions before purchasing. Weight loading chart & weight calculation template will be available via CFA Fleet services and VFBV will also publish on our website. Promote this information to any brigade considering replacing or purchasing a BOV.

TANKER RESTRICTING WASHER RETROFIT PROGRAM

The committee was provided a briefing on CFA’s restricting washer retrofit program. The program is in response to a safety issue related to the jet reaction associated with sudden changes in pressure when people are operating on the rear deck, when the front monitor is being used. It follows a serious accident last fire season where a firefighter was thrown off the back of a tanker and hit by the back wheels due to a sudden high pressure change on a rear deck hose.

The washers will reduce tanker rear deck deliveries to 300 l/min and will only be done on Tankers that have 900 l/min pumps, front monitors and cabin pressure controls. Concern has been raised that a training issue is being solved with a mechanical solution that may restrict firefighting capability of the fleet, however CFA have also pointed out that common branches operated on the rear deck are rarely designed to operate at more than 300 l/min.

CFA has agreed to work with delegates to look at alternatives, such as pressure relief valves and different hoses for use on the rear decks of tankers, and to investigate effects of reduced pressure more closely.

As CFA has identified this as a serious safety issue – the retrofit program will continue whilst alternatives are being investigated.

Issue 10: August 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 09/08/14)

REAR DECK ACCESS HATCHES

The committee has for some time been advocating for easier methods for crews to embark and disembark from the rear working deck on tankers. Issues around access have been exacerbated by CFA’s decision to not accommodate a rear facing ROPS area on new tankers, which necessitates crews having to frequently embark and disembark between trips and protracted incidents where water points are located long distances from the fire line. CFA have advised that the main reason for the phasing out of external ROPS on new truck builds has been due to them not meeting modern day Australian Design Regulations and health and safety concerns raised by Worksafe.

Many years ago, rear deck access hatches (DAH’s) where trialled in some crew cabins, that would allow crews to access the rear deck by a small door at the rear of the main cabin. Whilst feedback from the trial was mixed, they are no longer an alternative due to modern truck cabin designs which has resulted in manufacturers no longer willing to build DAH’s due to fear that they may impact upon the structural integrity of the cabin.

The Committee has strongly advocated the need to address the issue urgently, with CFA Fleet Services agreeing to investigate options and report back. Initial investigations will look at folding stair or ladder adjustments through to the enclosed rear facing modules that mining companies have been using that would provide an enclosed ROPS that would meet Australian Design Regulations. (ADR’s)

MEDIUM TANKER ROAD HANDLING INVESTIGATION

After several reports to the Committee from Brigades using the new Medium Tankers raising concerns about road handling, CFA agreed to commission an independent expert report to test the vehicles road handling. The report has conclusively found not only that the vehicle is safe, but scores quite highly across the board on most of the individual test results.

Prior to the test, CFA wrote to 124 Brigades who have a Medium Tanker, inviting them to provide feedback on the trucks handling. Of those, only 10 Brigades expressed concerns, with most indicating its performance in highway driving. For the purposes of the test, CFA provided a new tanker straight off the production line, as well as two tankers from the two Brigades who had raised the most concern over its handling. All three vehicles were tested using identical scenarios and criteria.

The full results are currently being collated, and will be provided to the Committee shortly. Discussion on the initial analysis of Brigade feedback and the independent test results indicates that driver training needs to be improved, especially considering brigades are usually upgrading from a 20 or 30 year truck, and thus may not fully appreciate the significance of changes. The Committee has requested that CFA review its training materials in order to provide a better comparison between models – and to highlight area’s that Brigades should concentrate on during vehicle changeover training.

BRIGADE OWNED VECHICLE INSURANCE ISSUES

The Committee is strongly advocating for CFA and the CFA Board to modify its Policies on insurance coverage involving Brigade Owned Vehicles. Under current policies, CFA will only provide market value to Brigades whose vehicles are written off on the fire ground. The committee has used four recent examples where this has occurred, and where the CFA response has been completely inadequate. Whilst not necessarily arguing for new for old, the Committee is adamant that the policy must be like for like at a minimum, and CFA must support Brigades to return to status quo after an incident.

VFBV/CFA Joint Equipment & Infrastructure Committee

2 Minute Briefing - May 2014

Issue 9: May 2014

CONCEPT ALPINE VEHICLE

The committee is currently overseeing the Alpine Resorts vehicle trial, which CFA will be conducting over the new 24 months. VFBV have requested that volunteer representatives from the Alpine Brigades be involved in the trial, and represent the committee on the steering group, in order to embed local input. CFA have agreed, and are providing regular updates through-out the trial. The first part of the trial is to develop and pilot a concept Alpine First Attack Vehicle, which is intended to provide additional capability to the Alpine area’s to cater for their unique hazards & provide faster response by Brigade members. Details of the pilot are being published on Brigades Online.

SAND TANKER UPDATE

The committee continues to review the specifications for the proposed Sand Tankers, reviewing feedback from the Prototype that has currently been touring the Western Districts. Operational representatives from District 17 & 18 attended the meeting to push the case for a reduced water capacity of 3,000 litres, with the preference being for super single tyres. The request for reduced water capacity surprised the committee, as previous requests have always been for more water. The committee will continue to monitor the feedback from the prototype, and have requested CFA to reconvene the working party to study the feedback in more detail. It is expected to see a build by December 2014.

MEDIUM PUMPER PROTOTYPE UPDATE

The Scania cab chassis for the new Medium Pumper prototype has now arrived and work has begun on building the body & lockers. Local Ballarat manufacturer SEM Fire & Rescue has been awarded the contract and is now working closely with CFA engineering on the fit out. It is expected that the first Prototype will be completed by December 2014. From January next year it will go through initial shake-down trials before being taken around the State for firefighter feedback. The committee is currently reviewing the small gear & stowage.

TANKER RETROFIT PROGRAM – HATZ ENGINES

The committee has for some time been pursuing the issue identified by a volunteer that under certain circumstances, the loss of the vehicles electrics could cause the pump in some Tankers to shut down. CFA engineering has been working with the committee to research the issue and a proposed solution. Although there has been no reported cases in the operational context, CFA have accepted the merit of fixing the problem as an added level of safety in the unlikely event that the crew protection system is required to continue operating whilst the trucks wiring has been compromised.

CFA engineering have narrowed the issue to be specific to the larger 900 l/min Hatz engines that are controlled by an electric stop/start. The smaller 450 l/min Lombardini engines are not affected because they have a mechanical pull cable stop. Tankers built since 2012 are not affected, as they already incorporate “energise to stop” technology.

CFA have now proposed to undertake a retrofit program to fit out approx. 550 affected older model Tankers will be fitted with a new “energise to stop” kit, which will fix the problem. This work is expected to shortly be carried out through the DMO network through the regular annual service and will take approximately one year to complete. The committee congratulates CFA on this important safety initiative.

BRIGADE OWNED VEHICLE RED PLATE UPDATE

A decision is imminent, and is expected to be communicated to brigades within the next 60 days. Watch this space.

Equipment & Infrastructure

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 8, March 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV.
Due to Operational Activity, this Joint Committee Meeting was cancelled & did not go ahead.

VFBV CAMPAIGN FOR ADDITIONAL CFA FLEET FUNDING

Many CFA volunteers would be alarmed to learn that recurrent funding for CFA’s front line fleet does not provide for the replacement of fire trucks when they reach their working age limit.
CFA’s firefighting truck fleet has over 500 trucks that are over 20 years old and would already have been scheduled for replacement in any other state. The oldest CFA trucks are now 28 years old. Whilst CFA’s oldest trucks are well maintained, they do not have many of the safety features of modern vehicles, and without recurrent funding – CFA has no way to plan or schedule their eventual replacement.

In Victoria, CFA’s sister agencies have established maximum age targets for their tanker fleets. The MFB target for replacement of its tankers is 10 years, and DEPI have a target of 12 years for their Tankers. In June last year, due to inadequate funding, and Governments rejection of CFA’s 2013/14 fleet funding bid, with no way to reach the established “20 years old” convention that has been in place for the last couple of decades, CFA was forced to drop all age targets from its Fleet management plans, and replace with a “fit for task, fit for purpose” policy. Whilst this may sound sensible enough – with no forward planning or adequate funding, CFA cannot effectively manage its fleet of over 2,000 CFA owned vehicles, so that when they do eventually become not fit for purpose, they can be replaced.

VFBV and this Committee has been raising this issue with Government and other decision makers for some time, and has now launched an escalated public campaign for action to resolve the problem.

VFBV is seeking the support of both sides of Parliament for;

  • Appropriate, ongoing recurrent funding to ensure safe and fit-for-purpose CFA firefighting fleet replacement and growth expansion;
  • Guaranteed multi-year funding on a rolling five year basis, based on a reasonable replacement cycle;
  • A funding mechanism that provides additional funding to CFA to meet service requirements brought about by population growth and changes in the risk environment;
  • Funding to address the necessary ‘catch-up’ from recent under-funded years
  • A plea to stop the practice of assuming it is reasonable to require Volunteers to use frontline operational firefighting trucks that are considered unsafe or inadequate for career firefighters doing the same work and servicing the same communities

VFBV has written a letter to every Victorian State MP with a detailed brief outlining the problem, the implications and our desired result.

You can download the detailed brief by clicking here or call the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141 to request a copy be posted to you. We encourage you to follow up with further discussion at your local level.

Equipment & Infrastructure

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 09/11/2013)

CREW PROTECTION RETRO-FIT PROGRAM – VICTORIA LEADS THE WAY

This program continues to run on-time and under budget. There are 105 tankers in progress to be updated by June next year with the new Crew Protection retro-fit, taking the total of tanker to be retrofitted to 1048 tankers. The original program was for 844 tankers, with the additional 105 added to the program this year. These tankers were not originally planned for retrofit as it was hoped they would have been sold and replaced with new tankers by now. However due to no additional government funding for the fleet program in 2012/13, these tankers can no longer be replaced this year, and will now need to be upgraded to ensure all tankers in the fleet are protected. There are 22 Tankers that have been identified from the entire fleet that will not be able to be retro fitted due to mechanical or weight issues that cannot be overcome. These tankers will now be prioritized for replacement.

The huge success of this ambitious project is now receiving interstate acclaim, with CFA being asked by Western Australia’s Department of Fire & Emergency Services to install a crew protection retro fit on one of their own vehicles as a proof of concept. CFA representatives will be travelling to WA to share their knowledge on the program, and assist WA design and implement their own crew protection retro fit program. 

AD-BLUE NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL BP & SHELL CFA FUEL CARDS

Back at its August meeting, delegates raised the concern that brigades were becoming frustrated with the process of ordering AdBlue for their trucks through the Region/District stores, and that given the short shelf life of the solution, that it was unwise for Regions or Districts to try and manage centralized quantities.

AdBlue is the registered trademark for AUS32, or Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5% that is used with the Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR) to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust of diesel vehicles. An increasing number of new CFA trucks are being built with AdBlue systems in order to comply with every increasing emission standards.

Following approaches by the Committee, Fleet Services have now confirmed that authority to purchase AdBlue has now been activated on all BP and Shell CFA Fuel cards – so Brigades with an AdBlue Truck, can now pick up AdBlue in 10 or 20 litre containers from their local BP or Shell service station. Both BP & Shell have advised they are increasing the availability of AdBlue throughout their stores and have confirmed that individual stores will order it in if requested by a brigade.

AdBlue can continue to be ordered through DMO’s if it is more convenient for brigades, however it is recommended that where a local supplier can be found, that brigades purchase it directly, due to the limited 12 month shelf life of the solution.

VESEP TRAILER PUMP PROTOTYPE

The committee is involved in the design and evaluation of a Trailer Pump prototype which is being developed in time for next year’s round of VESEP (Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program) grants. The aim is for the eventual removal of stand alone Godiva pumps which due to their weight are becoming an OH&S hazard. The purpose built trailer will also have the capacity for a welfare locker to store water, googles and gloves etc and a planned 60 litre diesel fuel tank will provide in excess of 12 hours of continual operation, with a water cooled pump, which will be much quieter than previous pumps.  The trailer is being design with an off road capability in recognition of the environments these units usually need to traverse when used on the fire ground.

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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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