Zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach to fires

Shepparton News - - SNNEWS - By Myles Peter­son

For­est Fire Man­age­ment Vic­to­ria showed off one its state-ofthe-art heavy fire­fight­ing trucks in Shep­par­ton yes­ter­day.

The Un­i­mog, man­u­fac­tured by Mer­cedes Benz, fea­tures a suite of ca­pa­bil­i­ties in­clud­ing in­ve­hi­cle hose mon­i­tors, fire cur­tains, fall­ing ob­ject pro­tec­tion and ‘cabin del­uge’ sys­tems to de­fend the crew of four.

The spe­cialised truck car­ries 4000 litres of wa­ter and is de­signed for all-ter­rain use.

The fire­fight­ers were joined by lo­cal po­lice to spread the fire safety mes­sage ahead of what is pro­jected to be a dan­ger­ous sum­mer for the re­gion.

FFMVic as­sis­tant chief fire of­fi­cer Aaron Kennedy said it was frus­trat­ing that of the 105 lo­cal fires since July, 70 had been started by camp fires.

Il­le­gal fires and risky be­hav­iour will not be tol­er­ated this fire sea­son ac­cord­ing to Vic­to­ria Po­lice’s Se­nior Sergeant Ross Brit­tain who joined Mr Kennedy at the event.

‘‘Vic­to­ria po­lice work closely with fire­fight­ers to stamp out il­le­gal ac­tiv­i­ties dur­ing the of­fi­cial fire dan­ger pe­riod and to­tal fire ban days,’’ Snr Sgt Brit­tain said.

‘‘We take a zero-tol­er­ance ap­proach when it comes to fires . . . When there is a fire, fire in­ves­ti­ga­tors at­tend and if it’s deemed il­le­gal, po­lice will at­tend and they will pros­e­cute who is at fault.’’

Along with the fire safety mes­sage, Mr Kennedy spoke of emer­gency ser­vice’s new and im­proved air­borne fire­fight­ing and surveil­lance ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

‘‘The state’s air­craft fleet com­ple­ments on-ground fire­fight­ers and heavy ma­chin­ery as part of the num­ber one pri­or­ity to pro­tect lives and prop­erty,’’ Mr Kennedy said.

‘‘This sum­mer we are fac­ing an in­creased risk of bush­fires due to the un­der­ly­ing dry­ness on both pub­lic land and pri­vate land. How­ever, our re­gion is well re­sourced and pre­pared to re­spond to bush­fires.’’ ● A se­vere fire warn­ing and to­tal fire ban are in place to­day with tem­per­a­tures ex­pected to soar into the very high 30s. A list of banned and re­stricted ac­tiv­i­ties is avail­able at cfa.vic.gov.au

State-of-the-art: For­est fire op­er­a­tions of­fi­cer An­drew Corker with one of FFMVic’s high-tech new Un­i­mogs.

Pic­tures: Rod­ney Braith­waite

Ready for any­thing: Fire Op­er­a­tions Of­fi­cers An­drew Corker and Frank Nieuwen­huis.

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