The fire service I belong to is in the process of organising a Remote Area Firefighting Team. I was wondering if any of you out there (Australian and International) can provide me with some info on the subject, such as equipment, team size, procedures, experiences etc.
A little info on our area. The City of Gosford (about 60km N of Sydney) is a mixture of steep rugged heavily vegetated land cut by the Hawkesbury River and it's tributaries, and a large area of urban sprawl (wildland/urban interface). Most fires must be contained due to its possible impact on residential or industrial areas.
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Thread: Remote Area Firefighting Teams
09-13-1999, 08:11 AM #1NathanFirehouse.com Guest
Remote Area Firefighting Teams
09-14-1999, 09:40 AM #2cbp3Firehouse.com Guest
Nathan; Trying to pick only one reply for your myriad problems is like trying to find only one fire boot that will fit everyone in your department. It sound like you have two distinct problems, first-fighting fire in the rough country probably requires being on foot. Do you have much access? Can you work with water, or is it a hand crew show? That will affect the apparatus you need, and the equipment on it.
Second-You have the interface problem. This probably requires a 4x4 attack truck with pump and roll capabilities. If structure protection is top priority, then some kind of military chassis capable of carrying up to 1000 gal of water is likely best. If running in and catching the fire is more important, then a smaller, 1-ton pick-up style attack truck may be a better place to start. Beyond that, you need to decide for yourselves what equipment best suits your particular needs, however, no matter which way you go, I am sure there is a wealth of training opportunities available to you. Take advantage! Nothing beats experience, (so talk with those companies around you with similar problems), but never underestimate the value of training! Let us know how you do.
09-14-1999, 11:30 PM #3NathanFirehouse.com Guest
Thanks for your reply. A little more info on our area. The Gosford is about 2137.5 kmsq with a population of around 200,000. Gosford City Rural Fire Service has 18 stations, most have at least 1 4x4 tanker with about 1,000G water. All tankers can cary 6 crew. There are several smaller tankers with around 400G tanks. We have 2 boats, and can call upon aerial support (helicopters). As our fire service is part of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, mutual aid is no problem (all equipment, apparatus, training etc etc is standardised around the state).
We can gain vehicular access to about 50% of the area via a network of fire trails, but a large portion is very steep (cliffs), and it's these areas we are concerned about. We also have communities on the waterways that have no road access (these areas are also built on very very steep land and is heavily vegetated).
Most prospective members have had several years experience fighting bushfires. They will remain members of their separate brigades, and will be paged separately when their services are required (they will still respond with their own brigade on normal calls). We have managed without a Remote Area Firefighting Team (RAFT) for many years, but efforts to contain fires in these remote areas have been pretty ad-hoc, tying up resources that could better be used elsewhere.
Because we are relatively new to the concept of a 'specalised' hand crew team, I'm seeking info on what other departments do, and we will then use what ideas will suit us in our situation.
09-15-1999, 02:26 PM #4Captain HickmanFirehouse.com Guest
Sound like you are tring to get a group like the American Hot Shots or a TYPE 1 fire crew started. The only difference is that your tring to bring them together from different locations. In the US we call those a Type 2 crew. American Shots or Type 1's are a crew of their own, so to speak. They are individual units of about 20 or so firefighters which train, work, and basicly live together during the fire season. They are organized in different areas throughout the Western US. I can't think of any on the Eastern edgeof the US, althought there are many departments which train their individuals in both Wildland and Structural. The Shot or Type 1 crew fire activities are coordinated through the National Interagency Fire Center in Boise, Idaho or their local Geographic Area Coordination Centers located throughout the USA. You might say that each Shot Crew is a fire suppression group in itself. The important part being that all the Shots are trained under the same standard. That being demanded by the Interagency Fire Center. Their jobs may require them to be on the move throughout the entire fire season, moving from one fire to another, Going where ever, when ever. Sometimes these crews work their backsides off and do some of the hardest work. Usually a Type 2 crew, is made up of a group of 20 individuals which may come from one or more organizations, such as a Federal or State Forest, National Park Service, Local Fire Department, or a mix or all these groups. These individual must meet certain standards for training and health, but they are not always working or training together in the same location. The Type 2's usually are used to backup Type 1 crews, although they may end up on the front line in some occassions. I would suggest that you might check by surfing at http://www.nifc.gov/nifc.html first. Then find some of the Type 1's or Hot Shot Pages on the Web, look through them get some ideas of how those groups operate. Look at what you have as far as training, equipment, materials, locations, and support. Then see if any of the information which you have found could be used in your areas. Think about tring it or adjust it to fit what you need. You sound like your organization could handle such a undertaking due to its size. It would be interesting to see how your doing, so keep us posted.
And as they say in the US...Wildland Firefighting is more than a Job, It's an Attitude.. http://www.wildlandfirefighter.com/
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