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Fire Suppression

Victorian Fire Suppression Equipment

Fixed Wing Bombers

There are 10 aircraft that make up the fleet of Fixed Wing Bombers. These bombers carry 3 200 litre drums of fire retardant slurry or foam. Helicopters are useful when near a lake or at least a water source. They are good because they can turn around quickly if necessary and or if a rappelling crew needs support.

Fixed Wing Firebombers are mainly used if there is not much water near by or if the fires are in hard to reach places and if there are multiple fires.

The fire retardant is comprised of water and sulphate fertiliser. This mixture is good at slowing the progress of the fire.


The name for the Light Helicopter is the Aerospatiale Squirrel which is a turbine powered helicopter. They are used for:

Medium helicopters.

The main use is bombing fires in hard to reach areas, and transporting firemen.

The medium helicopter carry 1350 litres of water. It can be refilled in under 1 minute.

The contents of the foam is more like a biodegradable detergent which foams on impact.

The Erickson S – 64 Air Crane Helitanker can hold 9000 litres of water and can refill in 40 seconds.

Rappel Crews

Rappelling is a term which means abseiling down ropes to enable firemen to land in a wilderness to fight fires.

Once the firemen are on the ground the equipment is then lowered.

A rappel crew consists of a crew leader, rappel dispatcher and 5 crew members.

Hover Exit.

This method is generally used where terrain impedes a helicopter from making a decent landing.

Hover Exit is a fairly similar deployment method to rappel crews as they both accomplish their tasks by abseiling out of helicopters.

DSE Officers are the only people who can actually do this, and the maximum height is 1.3 metres.

Hover exit is an international technique which was modified depending on the country it is used in.

Aerial Mapping System

Airborne Infra Red Scanner

An Infra Red Scanner is connected on a Cessna 404 Aircraft. Its main use is to detect fire radiation. It also looks at terrain, roads to know where the fire.

Automated Real Time Mapping System (ARMS) was designed by DSE to locate the fires.

ARMS is not confined specifically for helicopters, it also works on aircraft and vehicles.

Forward Looking Infra Red (FLIR)

They are like intelligent video cameras, where they detect and record energy, not light.

DSE runs the FLIR equipment.

NSW Fire Suppression Tools

There are 5 main tools that the Rural Fire Service use to fight the fires in NSW and they are:


For “wet firefighting”, the Knapsack is the most important piece of equipment. The Knapsack is a backpack that holds 16 litres of water and sprays the water with a high pressure pump.

The knapsack is traditionally used as a tool for spot fires or just direct firefighting.

McLeod Tool

The McLeod Tool is traditionally used by the RFS as a tool to construct “fire breaks”. The McLeod Tool has 2 edges – one for raking and the other for cutting, scraping and chipping.

Brush Hook

Brush Hooks are used to clear scrub to allow a crew to use the McLeod Tool to make a fire break or for clearing a large area i.e. for a tanker.

The Brush Hook is a long cutting blade connected to a long piece of timber.

The way the brush hook is designed, it is like a lawn mower for very heavy bush.

Pistol Grip Nozzle

This tool is traditionally used for structural firefighting. This tool gives the firefighter the control for how much water to spray etc.

Triple Action Director

This hose is self explanatory, as it gives the firefighter 3 choices to spray water on a fire:

It also has the advantage of creating a fire curtain around the firefighter to protect them from heat from the blaze.