“It was touch and go whether we’d be able to save the neighbouring cabins”, firefighter Cameron Edward said about a fire at Redhead Beach Caravan Park on Wednesday. “When we got there the fire was so intense the roof was already down and the cabins on either side were under threat. We got two hoses working straight away to stop it spreading. To make matters worse, we quickly found there were no hydrants within the Caravan Park, so the only water we had was that in the tank on the truck.”
Fire Rescue NSW crews operate with four people. At a fire, two firefighters are tasked with fire attack. They wear breathing apparatus and take hoses to fight the fire. The Station Officer is in charge of managing the scene, switching off power, checking for additional hazards and calling for more resources.
The motor driver becomes the pump operator on arrival. If the firefighters on the hose lines are using large amounts of water the 2000 litre tank on the appliance can run dry in under three minutes. In this time the motor driver must find a hydrant, attach a standpipe, flush the hydrant, connect hose lines and have water running back to the appliance.
With no hydrants within the holiday park, motor driver Geoffrey Frith had to run out over 200 metres of hoses to reach a hydrant on the street. Fortunately, the quick arrival of additional appliances meant water could be used from their tanks.