We call the fire engines, trucks and other emergency service vehicles we use "appliances".
Currently we have a fleet of 784 vehicles in use throughout the State. These include tankers, urban pumpers, pumper/tankers, bulk water carriers, rescue and command vehicles.
We aim to replace our appliances before the end of their twentieth year in service. Since 2000, we have been replacing appliances with air-conditioned Crew Cab/Chassis.
These Chassis provide a greater level of comfort for volunteers when travelling to and from incidents and during training exercises. This design gives the crew the opportunity to discuss strategies and tactics to use on arrival at the incident and for the Officer to give clear instructions to the crew.
We look for continuous improvement on previous year’s models when specifying new appliances. Each year there may be some variations to the detail of appliances but the basic layout of the lockers and tray area has changed little in recent years.
We operate in a continuous improvement environment. Our appliances have evolved over time and continue to do so.
Some notable improvements that have been achieved since the 1980s include:
- Improved crew protection including:
- Air conditioned dual cab appliances
- Heat reflective roll down blinds in vehicle cabins
- Water spray protection for the vehicle cabin
- Fresh air breathing system for vehicle cabin occupants
- Improved design of the crew protection system on the rear firefighting platform
- Improved pumping performance
- Hose reels mounted above the tray to reduce the incidence of damage from rough terrain
- All equipment is accessible from ground level, no need to pass items down from the tray
- Improved emergency vehicle lighting, i.e. Red and Blue lights, headlight flashing system
- Siren speakers mounted near bumper bar height
- Electric rewind hose reels
- Increased hose reel length from 30 metres to 60 metres.
- Quick release (1/4 turn) hose couplings for small bore hose (25mm)
- Improved steps for access and egress from the appliance
- Class A foam systems installed on all firefighting appliances
- All steps and hand rails etc are coloured safety yellow
- Radiant heat shielding fitted to protect chassis components from flame
- Fire protection sleeving to protect critical elements of the chassis from fire
- Improved ergonomics around appliances in general
In all cases, evolutionary improvements result in improved firefighter safety, either directly (crew protection systems) or indirectly (reduced firefighter fatigue).
Appliance replacement process
We try to maintain an appliance age profile of 20 years maximum and replace appliances approaching or at this age.
The process for purchasing new appliances is conducted via a 'Closed Tender' in which pre-qualified suppliers are invited to tender. This process occurs over three main parts:
- Closed Tenders are called for the supply of new cab chassis
- Closed Tenders are called for the supply of new pumps
- After we have decided on the chassis´ and pumps, we call for tenders for the construction of appliance bodies.
We use a risk management approach to determine the number and type of appliances that we place in any given fire station. The CFS Standards of Fire and Emergency Cover (SFEC) outlines this approach. The SFEC prescribes a minimum level of volunteer staffing and equipment for each CFS Brigade.
There is recognition that community situations change from time to time and therefore the SFEC incorporates a process that enables CFS Brigades to seek a variation to the SFEC Brigade Prescription. A variation to a Brigade's prescription may result in an increase in the level of resources provided to that Brigade to support the effort to protect the community. SFEC variations must be approved by the CFS Strategic Leadership Group.