Sharp rise in vehicle accidents in wet weather

Working on roads is one of the most dangerous aspects of a firefighter's job.
Working on roads is one of the most dangerous aspects of a firefighter's job.

Fire crews from Wallsend, Minmi, Cardiff and Lambton responded to a house fire at Fletcher on Tuesday. On arrival firefighters found a laundry well alight, and immediately donned breathing apparatus and entered the house with hose lines. They managed to contain the fire to the laundry. Veteran Cardiff firefighter John Stanley said: “Visibility was appalling due to the amount of smoke. We used a thermal imaging camera to help us find and extinguish the fire. Inevitably, there was some smoke and water damage to the rear of the house.”

With the wet weather throughout the Hunter last week there has been a sharp rise in the number of motor vehicle accidents that fire crews have attended. On Wednesday accidents at Toronto, Cardiff and Wallsend required rescue crews to free trapped drivers from their vehicles. Crews also went to numerous other accidents where actions included providing first aid until the arrival of ambulance officers, cleaning up spills of oil and fuel to make roads safe, and conducting traffic control where necessary to avoid further accidents.

One of the most serious hazards experienced by firefighters is working on and near roads. Unfortunately, many drivers fail to slow down near accidents, placing firefighters and other emergency crews in danger. From September this year a road rule will become effective requiring motorists to slow down to 40 km/h when passing an emergency vehicle.