Training Report Tuesday 19th December 2017 – Joint exercise with Dunsborough VFRS. DUNCAN GARDNER
We started by checking out the 1.4, returned after an absence of several months, with a replacement pump, rebreathers, some fire resistant paint and other protection items. The suction pipes have been replaced with a connection to match the changed one on the pump.
Dunsborough VFRS arrived with two trucks for the briefing. The property on Brash Road (thanks Olly & Kim) would be subject to a structure fire. Yallingup Rural would be supplying water and other assistance. Captain Jon Glasspool noted that although it is a structure fire, it’s in our area so our brigade was responsible for Incident Control, personified in this case by Fish. As he had seen on our website, a 5% increase in body temperature means a 400% opening of pores and intake of smoke and other chemicals. House fires are particularly bad for a mix of toxic gases, and we should stay well away, and ensure PPE is removed as soon as possible and washed. (ALSO WASH HANDS SOON AFTER AND BODY AS SOON AS POSSIBLE TO LIMIT ABSORBTION OF TOXINS )
This was a big test of the Auxiliary ability, and they proved themselves capable of pumping water from a dam 100m away, perhaps 25m upwnhill at a rate that could keep up with the Light Tanker. Great work from the team there, who were set up in advance of the trucks arriving. Water was pumped on from the Light Tanker (in a safe position) to the 4.4, which was the central point for other trucks. We soon had lay flats snaking around like a scene from Backdraft. The 1.4 had to deal with a spot fire, and on it’s return was also filled, which exhausted our water supply.
Unfortunately one of the Dunsborough trucks took a wrong turn, and arrived at the scene 20 minutes late, carrying some foliage from the 4WD section of Brash Road. We learnt their trucks do not have GPS fitted.
Jon provided a debrief at the scene. Even with the volume of water supplied, it wouldn’t be enough for a significant structure fire, we would have had to find a way to access the tank at the property. He also mentioned protecting exposures, so fire does not spread, and isolating services (electricity, gas, water, solar) and tagging them. Later they politely made no mention of our ability to make up hoses, but did complement our radio work.
Overall a very useful exercise. Communication is key with so many trucks. At a fire, probably at night, it would be much more complex. It’s excellent to meet and work with the Dunsborough VFRS crew – many thanks to them for coming out to our patch. Great work from the auxiliary, who did the heavy lifting on this exercise with most of their hoses in use. They will be getting some connectors and trialling two pumps in series (over a shorter distance, two in parallel). We also learnt we should have more 64mm hose on the 4.4, if we can find a place to store it. And perhaps isolation tags.