The ACT Rural Fire Service (ACTRFS) has increased its fire fighting capabilities by eight new Isuzu NPS 300 trucks to its fleet as a part of the ACT Emergency Services Agency's Vehicle Replacement Program.
The NPS 300 Crew Cab four-wheel drive tankers have a payload of 2,800 kilograms allowing them to carry 1,500 litres of water, equipment, and up to three fire-fighters, providing a major advancement to the ACT's fire fighting capacity.
According to the Director of Fleet Procurement for the ACT Emergency Services Agency, Wayne Willimott, there has been a significant change in the overall ACT fleet since he joined the organisation 23 years ago. ”The trucks are far more complex and much safer than in the past,” Willimott says. “We take the time to investigate our vehicle options, and conduct extensive research and reviewing occupational health and safety standards before purchasing a truck.”
Environmental impact is also a key consideration for the ACT Emergency Services Agency when selecting vehicles. ”The trucks must be fit for purpose. We take into account the environmental performance of each truck, including the level of emissions produced. We also look at the safety features each model offers,” Willimott adds.
The ACTRFS modified each of the trucks to specifically suit its requirements and working conditions. Modifications include devices such as foam systems, diesel pumps, crew protection sprays and boom sprays for grassland fire fighting.
According to Willimott, crew members are trained in every facet of fire fighting, including driving the various fire trucks; therefore the vehicles must be easily operated. ”Our fire-fighters are multi skilled and the crew rotate the driving duties – all are pleased with the performance of the Isuzu trucks,” he says.
The lifespan of each ACT fire truck is approximately 15 years over which time they will cover 5,000 kilometres per year. Although they do not accumulate high mileages, the terrain in which they work is often extreme. ”The trucks operate in all conditions from paved roads to fire trails and grass fields,” Willimott adds.
“Kilometres aren't important to us. It is not a case of how far the truck can travel, rather how well the truck can perform when out on a job.” The RFS trucks are predominantly used in emergency situations, however it is not their only task. When the trucks are not being utilised fighting fires they are put to good use in the local community. ”The trucks are often used for training sessions, demonstrations and community events, such as school fetes,” says Willimott.