HAMILTON’S volunteer firefighters have spent the weekend learning how to mix fire retardant and load an aircraft with fire suppressing foam.
The training session was part of an upgrade for the firefighting capabilities at Hamilton Airport, which now has an additional fixed-wing water bomber and a mobile retardant mixing station.
Hamilton can now scramble both bombers to a fire incident within 20 minutes of it being reported with the aid of a new dispatch system.
State Aircraft Unit training and equipment officer, Graeme Briggs, led the training for local CFA and SES volunteers.
Mr Briggs said the presence of two bombers would make local firefighting efforts more efficient and any of Victoria’s fixed wing aircraft could use the Hamilton facilities.
“The two bombers carry about 2000 litres of foam or retardant each,” Mr Briggs said.
“We’re aiming to have the aircraft loaded with foam or retardant in about five minutes.
“If the fire was at Dunkeld, for example, with the flying time we could drop two loads on the fire front every 20 minutes.”
The water bombers taxi past the restocking area where three volunteers approach the aircraft with a large hose and restock it with foam or retardant.
Full story in The Spectator on Wednesday, December 25, 2013.