ACT medal presentation and signing of MOU
On Tuesday 30 November, I was at City of Sydney Fire Station to sign
an MOU between the NSWFB and the ACT Emergency Services Authority
(ACTESA). The MOU will enhance our existing relationship and deals
with joint training and response to fires, rescues, hazmat and terrorist
After the signing, the ACTESA and the ACT Fire Brigade presented
ACT Emergency Medals to 91 NSWFB firefighters who were involved in
the 2003 Canberra bushfires. Congratulations to all recipients. While
every effort was made to identify all officers and firefighters who
assisted in Canberra, we may have missed some. Please submit a report
to your zone office if you think you are eligible.
In further recognition of our efforts during the Canberra bushfires,
a local artist, Clare Thackway, donated a series of drawings to the
NSWFB. Clare’s pictures depict the ravaged scenes left in the
wake of the 18 January 2003 fire storm. She was a resident of Duffy
at the time and used charcoal from the fire to illustrate her story.
The drawings are currently on display at the Museum of Fire after
she contacted SF Pat Clancy.
Guildford factory fire
Hot weather and a volatile fuel load contributed to difficult firefighting
conditions at a factory fire at Guildford in Sydney’s west on
55 Guildford found the building heavily involved in fire and requested
a 4th Alarm which was quickly upgraded to a 6th Alarm. Exposures in
sectors B, C and D were in serious danger. Firefighters cut through
roller shutter doors of adjacent buildings to deploy protection lines.
Stored products included paints, thinners, fuels, oxygen, LPG and
acetylene gas cylinders, so a defensive strategy was implemented.
There was an NSWFB presence to match the size of the fire and all
present did a thoroughly professional job.
Young Abattoirs fire
Just before 11pm last Saturday 513 Young responded to an unknown fire
at the Young Abattoirs. On arrival the crew advised Wollongong Comms
that a large amount of black smoke was issuing from a building 100m
x 100m and requested additional pumps.
Just before 11.30pm a 20m x 20m section of roofing collapsed. The
Young crew was assisted by 266 Cootamundra and a number of RFS tankers,
and quickly contained the fires within the building.
It is believed that there were three separate fires within the building.
Total extinguishment was achieved with additional appliances and crews
from 232, 389, 313, 270, 456 and hazmat tankers from 472 and 305 stations.
Fire Air 1 also responded with extra BA cylinders from Sydney, plus
Zone Commander and Senior Instructor South 7.
Although the building was extensively damaged, the combined efforts
of all emergency services in attendance saved the complex from total
shutdown which would have seen a large number of persons out of work
for many months, if not permanently.
The Young crew also asked me to thank their wives and partners on
their behalf for making refreshments in the early hours of the morning
for all the firefighters involved in the operation.
Rumour: We have heard a rumour that Carrington Fire Station is closing
down. Can you please confirm if this is true?
Response: There is no intention to close Carrington Fire Station;
the station is currently undergoing extensive repairs and maintenance.
NEWS IN BRIEF
Heritage listing of fire engines
On Monday morning, Assistant Commissioner Graham Dewsnap was joined
by NSW Assistant Planning Minister, Diane Beamer, at the Museum of
Fire to celebrate the listing of three vintage fire engines on the
State Heritage Register.
The three engines are a rare 1891 Shand Mason horse-drawn steamer
and two other classic fire engines: a 1929 Ahrens Fox and a 1939 Dennis
Several members of the Retired Members and Wives Association attended
the event including the oldest living retired firefighter in NSW,
99-year-old Fred Orriel. Retired firefighters in their old firefighting
uniforms added a sense of authenticity to the occasion and were only
too happy to describe their experiences on the three appliances.
The listing of these fire engines is important for the NSWFB as it
reflects our journey to become one of the world’s leading fire
and rescue services. It also guarantees that their significance will
not be lost on future generations.
A fire call with a difference
The retained crew of 444 Singleton was called to assist the Native
Animal Trust Fund on Tuesday evening (30 November). The situation
involved a number of bats from an endangered species in Burdekin Park,
Singleton, which were literally dropping out of the trees from heat
exhaustion. The crew used lateral thinking to position their hose
lines to spray a mist above the tree canopy. As the crew cooled the
bats, their attention was diverted when an adjoining resident’s
kitchen caught fire. They tell me it certainly made for an extraordinary
Move towards fire-safe cigarettes
A plan for self-extinguishing or “fire-safe” cigarettes
is being put to the Commonwealth Government for consideration to help
reduce bushfires and household fires in Australia.
Laws exist in Canada and New York State which require all cigarettes
sold in their jurisdictions to meet certain reduced ignition rules.
A paper prepared by the NSWFB on how to proceed with the fire-safe
cigarettes, also known as reduced ignition propensity cigarettes,
was referred to the Australian Emergency Management Committee meeting
this week for consideration and referral to Canberra.
NSWFB AIRS data indicates that cigarettes are involved in starting
5% of structure fires and about 3% of all fires. In NSW, cigarettes
are the leading cause of ignition of fires resulting in a fatality,
resulting in 28% of deaths over an eight-year period.
Female firefighter survey
A University of Western Sydney study is researching why more women
aren’t joining the fire services on a permanent basis. Chief
researcher Dr Merilyn Childs, who heads up the University’s
Fire Services Research Program, is encouraging female firefighters
to take part. The online survey can be found at www.firegirls.info
2004 Australasian Fire Brigades Golf Championships
The NSWFB Golf Club hosted this year’s Australasian Fire Brigades
Golf Championships at Belmont Golf Club, Lake Macquarie.
The event attracted 200 players from every Australian state and territory
plus New Zealand. In an exciting finish, NSW were 16 shots behind
Queensland after the first round, but came home with a wet sail to
beat them by one stroke and take out the event.
There were several categories at the Championships with numerous
winners. The full list of results can be viewed on the Intranet.
Garry Monroe, President NSWFB Golf Club tells me that a great week
was had by all and that they managed to raise $5000 for the Burns
Unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. A cheque was presented
to the Burns Unit on Wednesday 24 November. Photos from the presentation
are available on the Intranet.
Well done to Garry and his committee for their hard work in making
the event such a success.
Free open day at the Museum of Fire
To celebrate the listing of the three historic fire engines on the
State Heritage Register, the Museum of Fire will hold a FREE OPEN
DAY this Sunday,
Firefighters and firefighting enthusiasts from all over Sydney are
welcome to come and inspect the newly-listed fire engines as well
as the Museum's entire collection of firefighting memorabilia which
dates back throughout the NSWFB's 120-year history.
The Museum of Fire will be open from 10.00am to 3.00pm and is located
1 Museum Drive, on the corner Castlereagh Road, Penrith. If you’ve
never been before, the main entrance is approximately 100m north of
the railway bridge, next door to National Food Dairies. Just look
for the big red fire engine.
Call the Museum of Fire on 02 4731 3000 or check out www.museumoffire.com.au
for more information.
Commissioner’s e-mail: Commissioner@fire.nsw.gov.au
Cora Sarmiento, Commish’s PA: 9265 2930
PACSU: fax 9265 2882
Commish’s Corner Rumour Mill: 9265 2627
To contribute a story, please contact Public Affairs Officers: Stephen
Norris (West) 9265 2613, Natalie Laharnar (North) 9265 2631 or John
Suter Linton/Tippy Kavalee (South) 9265 2802