NSW initiates trial scheme for private firefighting vehicles to enhance rural fire capabilities

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Introduction to the trial scheme

NSW landowners are being encouraged to participate in a new trial scheme aimed at enhancing rural firefighting capabilities.

This initiative, a collaboration between Transport for NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service, allows the use of private Farm Fire Fighting Vehicles (FFFVs), also known as Farm Fire Units (FFU), without the need for registration, provided they meet specific eligibility criteria.

These criteria include the permanent attachment of firefighting equipment, operation within a 100km radius of the storage address, and maintenance in a safe operating condition.

Eligibility and safety measures for firefighting vehicles

The trial scheme’s eligibility criteria are designed to ensure that while these vehicles are not registered, they are adequately equipped to assist in emergency situations and contribute effectively to firefighting efforts.

Minister for Emergency Services, Jihad Dib, highlighted the importance of rural landholders in firefighting efforts and encouraged participation before the trial nominations close on March 31.

“Landholders in rural areas can play a key firefighting role, and this trial allows us to test an arrangement that rural advocates have been calling for,” Minister Dib said.

The role of FFFVs in firefighting efforts

Commissioner of the RFS, Rob Rogers, acknowledged the valuable contribution of these units in rural firefighting efforts, particularly with landholders often serving as initial responders.

“Allowing eligible farm fire vehicles to operate without registration ensures a more swift and coordinated response during emergency bush fire incidents,” Commissioner Rogers said.

He also emphasised the importance of quick action against fires, especially with the high grass fuel loads across the state, and reminded that the Bush Fire Danger Period is still in effect for most of NSW.

How to nominate a vehicle for the trial

To nominate a vehicle for the trial, landowners are directed to visit Transport NSW’s website, complete the trial nomination form, and provide two photographs of the nominated vehicle.

For further information, contact Service NSW on 13 77 88 or visit your nearest Service NSW centre.

This initiative provides a unique opportunity for rural landowners to contribute significantly to the state’s firefighting efforts, ensuring a more efficient response to bush fire incidents.

IFSJ Comment

The trial scheme introduced by NSW represents a strategic approach to enhancing rural firefighting capabilities by leveraging the resources of local landowners.

By allowing the use of private Farm Fire Fighting Vehicles without the need for registration, the scheme aims to foster a more collaborative and effective response to fire emergencies in rural areas.

It reflects an understanding of the critical role that landholders play in initial firefighting efforts and offers a practical solution to bolster the state’s overall bush fire response capabilities.

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