18/10/2020 | Vincent Tarzia MP

Montacute Country Fire Service volunteers have welcomed a new high-tech truck and thermal imaging camera to their station.

The Marshall Liberal Government continues to create a safer and more bushfire resilient South Australia in the lead-up to summer.

The new truck is one of 25 that will boost capabilities of the CFS fleet for the 2020/21 bushfire season and is part of the Marshall Liberal Government’s unprecedented $97.5 million bushfire action plan.

“New trucks are being rolled out to our CFS volunteer groups and will make a significant difference in their ability to protect lives and protect property during the upcoming bushfire season,” Minister for Emergency Services Vincent Tarzia said.

“Alongside the delivery of new trucks, a further 16 are being refurbished to include sprinkler systems designed to protect firefighters on the fireground.”

On top of that, 55 thermal imaging cameras have been procured and are being distributed to each CFS group in the state to improve intelligence on a fireground.

“The thermal imaging cameras have heat sensors that are capable of detecting tiny differences in temperature, assisting firefighters to pinpoint the location of a fire’s origin and the extent of its spread,” Minister Tarzia said.

“The Marshall Liberal Government’s action plan is already equipping South Australia with state-of-the-art equipment and resources in preparation for future fire threats.”

The $97.5m strategy was initiated in response to the Independent Review of South Australia’s 2019/20 bushfire season, conducted by highly respected former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mick Keelty AO.

A total of 68 findings and 15 recommendations were identified as part of the Review and five key themes highlighted:

  • Additional support and resources for volunteers, including extra staff and equipment
  • Better protection for critical assets
  • Enhanced communications and technology
  • Improved information before, during and after bushfires
  • Improved mental health support for Emergency Services Sector.

“The Keelty Review was completed, and actions initiated immediately, so we can better manage bushfires and the impact they have on our communities. The action plan is about safeguarding our future,” Minister Tarzia said.

CFS Chief Officer Mark Jones said last season’s bushfires were intense, burned quickly and tragically resulted in three lives lost.

“It’s vital that our trucks are fitted to the appropriate safety standards, including the installation of sprinkler systems, so that if our personnel are caught in a fire, they have the optimal chance of remaining safe,” Mr Jones said.

“Increasing the number of trucks with sprinkler systems will increase the number of trucks we can confidently send to major bushfire events.”

“During bushfires the thermal imaging cameras will be important in identifying hot spots and allowing the crews to prioritise their firefighting and mopping up efforts, but they will also help with many of the other events that the CFS attends over the year.”

Thermal imaging cameras can also identify areas of concern that may not be visible to the naked eye, like underground burning roots or heat within haybales, and in the event of structural fires, they will be vital in helping crews see what’s happening inside walls and roofs.