CFA training day for air support

February 24, 2023 BY

To the rescue: CFA members practiced reloading air tankers at Bendigo Airport earlier this month. Photo: SUPPLIED

FIREFIGHTERS gathered at Bendigo Airport recently to hone a special set of skills.

Seven County Fire Authority members joined with colleagues from Fire Forest Management Victoria to practice efficiently reloading air tankers.

The program is part of airtanker education program roll out across the state.

“We’ve got two large airtankers that are in Victoria for this summer,” said Garry Cook, CFA chief officer for operational response and coordination.

“We had crews undertaking the exercise on the Q400, that’s a large capacity airtanker and behind that is the RJ which they also loaded.

“Essentially the training is about familiarising yourself with the load points on the large airtankers themselves, as well as operating the pumping systems to get the water.

“We used water for the training, but we could also be using foam here at Bendigo.

“It’s really important to understand that the aircrafts that go out to fires actually need to go back and land, and somebody has to reload them.

“It’s a whole logistics exercise, it’s not just about the aircrafts dropping on the fire, it’s what makes the whole system work.”

Firefighter Sara Fitzroy-Moore from the Strathfieldsaye CFA brigade took part in the training.

“I thought it would be interesting to do, and a good way for me to support my region and my local fire brigade as well as help others in the process.” she said.

“I’ve now learned how to load an aircraft safely that is designed to drop water on fires and discovered how to operate a large pump.

“It’s fantastic to see them on the ground, understand how they work, and how we can work with them.

“It’s going to be better for the state of Victoria.”