2015 Fire Services Award for a Project of State Significance winners and finalists

Winner

MFB Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Project

With MFB attending increasingly complex and dangerous incidents, the organisation made the decision to invest in new technology which would enable its incident controllers to gain better situational awareness of fires and direct firefighting strategy accordingly. As a result, in 2013 MFB launched its UVA trial using two CyberQuad compact UAVs.

MFB’s UAV can be quickly deployed to major incidents and provides live-streamed aerial vision of an incident that can guide strategic and tactical decision making.

Since its launch the UAV’s have been deployed not only to major incidents but also incidents managed by other Victorian agencies including the Hazelwood Coalmine fire, Ravenhall Prison riots, and several major road accidents.

Finalists

Vehicle Mounted Drip Torch (VMDT)

The Mk8 vehicle mounted drip torch has been developed for the purpose of providing an efficient and safe method for fuel reduction burning in well vegetated areas of Victoria. Manual methods of fuel reduction are usually undertaken by person/s holding an ignited hand held drip torch whilst walking and who as such are exposed to many hazards including chemical contact (burn mix fuel) , fire, fatigue, heat stress, hazardous terrain, overhead falling objects, slips, trips and falls. Additionally it is difficult to obtain sufficient staffing numbers to undertake a planned burn and to complete it within a given window of burn opportunity.

In developing the Vehicle Mounted Drip Torch all of the above factors were considered and factored into the development plan.

The VMDT gives greater protection to ground staff because they are no longer “on the ground” but are instead seated in a vehicle which in turn minimises fatigue. This also allows for more ground to be covered at a higher speed than a typical field staff person can accomplish on foot.

The VMDT reduces the need for crew to enter hazardous areas on foot and provides greater safety and control. Furthermore field staff used for manual ignition tasks (hand held drip torches) can be reassigned to contain the planned burn fire perimeter instead of ignition tasking.

When the VMDT is used in conjunction with the aerial drip torch (ADT) it greatly enhances the speed at which the burn can be accomplished and reduces Hazard exposures to field staff and communities.

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