Just for the interest of members and friends of the AVBFB, below is a statement made by the Honourable Albert Jacob, Minister for Environment yesterday in the WA Parliament:
DEPARTMENT OF PARKS AND WILDLIFE — BUSHFIRE SAFETY IMPROVEMENTS
“Today I would like to further inform the house of the significant bushfire safety improvements undertaken by the Department of Parks and Wildlife over the past 18 months. The department is now well advanced on fitting its fleet of more than 100 trucks with a water-spray protection system designed to protect occupants in the event of a burnover situation, and will have the task completed for the upcoming fire season. The system was designed with assistance from the Victorian Country Fire Authority, and prototypes were tested to ensure their durability in the field. In Albany recently, I was pleased to commission the first truck fitted with the system to be delivered to that region.
Completion of installation of the water-spray protection systems will see compliance with the tenth and final improvement notice related to the Black Cat Creek fire served on the Department of Parks and Wildlife by WorkSafe Western Australia early in 2013. I have previously informed the house of other measures undertaken either in compliance with improvement notices or of the department’s own initiative. These include the installation of radiant heat shield curtains, protective lagging of all critical wiring and hydraulics, as well as the replacement of plastic components on all trucks. Beyond these extensive improvements to its truck fleet, the delivery of training and information to all staff involved in fire operations comprised a significant component of the compliance requirements.
Staff received preseason training in fire safety, including the use and correct storage of fire blankets and use of the red flag warning system. Of particular importance has been the delivery of training and information regarding how to interpret and understand the contents of the spot weather forecasts issued by the Bureau of Meteorology.
Drills were an integral part of the training process and were particularly well received by staff. They included scenario-based burnover drills and the correct use of the Western Australian emergency radio network
communication system. The department has implemented systems to ensure that this training is repeated annually prior to the commencement of the fire season, with all relevant staff required to participate in training prior to involvement in fire operations. Independently of the improvement notices, the Department of Parks and Wildlife identified the need to upgrade its personal protective equipment to bring some components into line with the current Australian standards for bush fire fighting and to take advantage of the latest technologies in protective clothing. New personal protective equipment and clothing was issued to fire operations staff in early 2014. I would like to acknowledge this ongoing commitment by the Department of Parks and Wildlife to the safety of its firefighters.”