RFBAQ Skid Tour of the Central West

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RFBAQ

13th – 16th February

What we learnt and what we need to do.

  • 5 stops – Ilfracombe, Jundah, Muttaburra, Barcaldine, Tambo
  • 4 shires
  • 3 Mayors and CEO’s and multiple councillor’s  
  • Many truck and non-truck brigade Rural Fire Brigade members
  • 3,469 klm
  • A growing load of fuel following 8 years of drought.
 
On the tour was:
  • Joanne Greenfield, Chief Officer, RFSQ
  • Ian Pike, President, RFBAQ
  • Chief Superintendent Alan Gillespie, RFSQ
  • Superintendent Chris Spencer, RFSQ
  • Robert Lang, Rockhampton Representative, RFBAQ and Michelle Lang
  • Justin Choveaux, GM, RFBAQ
 
What we learnt is that fire season in coming. There are fewer people to meet the growing risk and we need to support those people with new equipment. 
The RFBAQ has written to Chief Officer Greenfield requesting investment of approximately $400,000 to allow the RFSQ to be able to dramatically increase the ability of communities across 5 shires in the Central West to meet their emergent fire risk.
The RFBAQ recommendation from the tour is that the RFSQ invest in an initial rollout 8 x 2,000l trailers and 12 x 5,000l skids to be pre-positioned at  - 
 

Shire

town

2,000l trailer

5,000l skid

       

Winton

Winton

2

1

Longreach

Longreach

2

1

Barcoo

Jundah

1

2

Barcaldine

Alpha

0

1

 

Muttaburra

0

1

 

Jericho

0

1

 

Barcaldine

2

3

Blackall / Tambo

Tambo

1

2

 

total

8

12

 
The weighting of the units is towards the centre of the Central West in Barcaldine as that is where the RFSQ Area Office is and additionally Barcaldine in the crossroads of the Central West.
 
The RFSQ would need to have agreement with individual councils regarding the provision, use and access of this equipment and this can be done concurrently with the build programme. 
 
In conjunction with this it is imperative to re-staff the Barcaldine RFSQ Area Office with a full dedicated staff as soon as possible as the brigades are all clamouring for training and support before the upcoming fire season.
 
There was also an identified need for information to be supplied in locations convenient for grey nomads regarding the use of fire and access in rural Queensland.
 

Background

The Rural Fire Service has 3,700 x 500L slip-ons in service and about 400 x 1,000L trailers. These are great so long as you have people who can put them on their personal vehicles as it gives an immediate knockdown ability at fires and maintains control of the fires in the hands of the locals who understand how fire moves through their country.  
 
This is why 60% of Rural Fire Brigades in Queensland don’t have a truck and most don’t want one. 
 
Brigade membership as a percentage of population is still constant however with depopulation in the central west and far west there are fewer people. If we keep supplying the same small units we will have fewer actually on the fire front. When they need to go refill, the fire gets a run.   
 
The proposed system and associated equipment that allows the local brigades to stay on the fire front longer is the supply of 5,000L skid units. 
 
Units would be located at select rural fire stations and / or council depots, and at the commencement of fire season local brigade members who participate will bring in a flatbed truck and have the 5,000L skid loaded onto their truck. This will then be a resource to either fill up the local slip-on units or to knock down the flanks of a fire. 
 
This would not result in a reduction in slip-ons or trailers, rather be an additional resource. 
 
At the end of fire season the brigade member will then bring the 5,000L skid in, and the RFSQ will have the equipment serviced and safely stored under cover against the next time of identified need. This will also for the first time build flexibility into rural fire and allow for the moving of assets to meet varying state risk.
 
Enquires to Justin – 0428 218 507 – gm@rfbaq.org 
 
skidtour

 

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