There are many different types of fire appliances in CFA’s fleet ensuring our firefighters can respond to different types of fires and other emergency incidents.
CFA has over 1200 tankers in its fleet. Tankers come in 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive combinations and are designed to carry a large water tank (up to 3000 litres) as well as a pump.
Operational equipment such as hoses, nozzles, standpipes, breathing apparatus, axes and other hand tools are stowed in lockers on the vehicle.
Tankers are generally used in bushfires as the water can be carried to where it is required and then used at the fire ground to extinguish the fire. The pump on a tanker runs independently, so that the truck can drive around and extinguish the fire.
CFA has over 200 pumpers currently in supply. As the name implies, pumpers are equipped with a large pump capable of pumping thousands of litres of water per minute, some up to 4000 litres per minute. Pumpers are generally used in an urban environment to fight structure fires, as they require a reticulated or static water supply (eg: a dam) to operate.
Pumpers are also equipped with an extensive inventory of operational equipment including hoses, nozzles, ladders, breathing apparatus, chemical protection suits and other fire fighting gear, stowed in lockers on board the pumper.
Pumpers carry some water, up to 2000 litres, but because their pumps are so large, they need the truck engine to run them, so pumpers operate only when they are parked.
‘Aerial’ appliances are not aircraft. They are fire trucks equipped with a long extension ladder, or in some cases a hydraulic platform (like a massive “cherry picker”), capable of reaching several storeys in the air. From these heights firefighters are able to conduct rescues from upper floor windows, and are also able to send water down onto the fire from hoses built into the ladder or platform system.
Some aerial appliances are equipped with their own pump that can hook directly into the reticulated water supply to deliver water direct to the hose located at the end of the extension ladder or platform. Other aerial appliances have no pump and require a pumper to attend the fire scene to pump the water from the mains water supply to the aerial appliance.
CFA has seven aerial appliances in its truck fleet, these being strategically located in outer metropolitan Melbourne and in provincial cities such as Ballarat and Bendigo.
CFA have three all-terrain vehicles. These fire trucks are stationed at Victorian ski resorts and have caterpillar treads instead of wheels to provide over-snow fire fighting capability during the winter months. All-terrain vehicles have a similar operating capacity to pumpers.
CFA has 26 rescue units that are predominantly used to rescue people involved in car accidents. Rescue units are equipped with a large array of rescue equipment including the “jaws of life”, which is designed to free people trapped in their car following a road accident.
In many instances rescue units are also equipped to carry out other forms of rescue including industrial accidents and high angle (eg. Window cleaners caught on the sides of high rise buildings).
Hazardous Materials Incident Units (HazMat Van)
There are nine hazardous material incident units that are used at incidents where chemicals and other hazardous substances are present. They carry an array of equipment that can be used to dam and contain chemical spills, and clean up the contaminated area.
Units are also equipped with decontamination showers for firefighters involved in the incident. These showers hose off chemicals the firefighters may have been exposed to when wearing their chemical protection suits.
Mobile Communications Vehicles (MCV’s)
CFA’s fleet of mobile communications vehicles are used to assist communications and incident management at large and/or protracted incidents. MCVs are equipped with extensive radio communications equipment, and also have computers, faxes, photocopiers and whiteboards that are useful tools for incident management.
CFA’s 21 quick attack vehicles are used in built-up areas to provide a quick initial firefighting response. They have a small tank (500 to1500 litres) and pump and are especially suited for hard to access areas.
Protective Equipment Units (PE Vans)
There are four protective equipment units that are used to support incidents. PE Units carry additional breathing apparatus, including specialised oxygen breathing apparatus for long duration incidents such as ship board and mine rescue, and a compressor to refill used air cylinders. There are also splash suits and gas suits that are used in hazardous materials incidents.