Fire Rescue NSW firefighters are in the midst of one of the busiest summers on record. In the past two weeks alone Newcastle and Hunter firefighters have been called to house fires and building fires, bush fires, car and truck fires, an electrical substation fire, and even a haystack fire.
The high humidity and light rain last week also saw a spike in power poles alight and wires arcing.
To extinguish power pole fires, firefighters must use non-continuous streams of water, such as fog or pulse sprays, to reduce the risk of electrocution. If a constant jet of water was used, an electrical current could pass from the power lines down the water column to the firefighters below.
Crews also responded to a huge range of non-fire related incidents over the summer holidays. A small sample of these include motor vehicle accidents, rescue incidents such as an elevator rescue and a cliff rescue, floodings, medical access emergencies, gas leaks, chemical spills, animal rescues, and even a ring removal.
The ring removal, successfully undertaken by specialists from Belmont fire station, required the delicate use of rescue tools to remove a gold wedding ring from a painfully swollen finger.
BE HYDRANT AWARE
Ever noticed a rectangular metal cover plate with a capital H in your front yard or your neighbours? The H designates that a fire hydrant is below.
On attending a fire, one of the first things fire crews will do is locate a hydrant, ship a standpipe, attach a hose, and connect it to the back of the Fire truck.
Often firefighters find that hydrants are hidden or not maintained and cannot be used at a fire emergency. This is not only frustrating for firefighters, but it can lead to serious consequences in delaying operations.
Without water from a hydrant, fire trucks, which hold around 1800 litres, will run out of water in about four minutes.
If you find a hydrant in your front yard, ensure it is easily accessible and clear of dirt and debris.
For tips on how to stay fire-safe this summer visit fire.nsw.gov.au/summer