The new facilities include a powerful spray system that can drench the truck with water for several minutes should it become surrounded by a fast-running grassfire or threatened by a burn-over during an intense bushfire.
The water jets will protect cabin occupants, crew members in the rollover protection cage on the tanker rear deck, and critical vehicle components such as wheels and tyres, antennae, lights and batteries.
The retrofit also included installation of drop-down thermal curtains above all windows to reflect radiant heat away from cabin occupants, thermal barriers around the truck’s vital water pumping equipment, and a vastly improved two way communication system between crew members in the cabin and the rear of the truck.
Rushworth’s tanker is well-passed “middle-age”, but cannot yet be retired as newer appliances are simply too big to fit within the cramped confines of the town’s vintage fire station in Moora Road.
When the Rushworth Brigade finally moves to new premises in Murchison Road (near the old grain silo site), it will become eligible for a new tanker that can accommodate all crew members within the cabin if danger should threaten.
In the meantime, RFB members welcome their existing tanker’s safety upgrade, and the improved level of security it promises.
Article and Photos by Cass Alexander - Originally published in the Waranga News.