Weather tech to help rural firefighters

June 23, 2022 BY

New tech: CFA acting Chief Officer Garry Cook and emergency services minister Jaclyn Symes with a portable automated weather stations. Photo: SUPPLIED

NEW automated weather stations have been rolled out across the state, which authorities say could improve firefighter and community safety.

Emergency services minister Jaclyn Symes and Acting Chief Officer Garry Cook trialled the new equipment at Heathcote fire station last week.

Seven of the stations are portable, with three permanently located at Ballan, East Trentham and Glenburn.

Acting chief officer Cook said the portable automated stations measure surrounding weather and transmit data to the CFA and the Bureau of Meteorology.

“Fire is a true force of nature, and its behaviour can change in an instant, putting lives and property at risk,” he said.

“Accurate, localised and up-to-the-minute weather information on a fireground is critical to providing an effective emergency response.”

For a fire station like Heathcote, the previous closest Bureau of Meteorology weather station was about 30 kilometres away.

“These portable stations will be used in remote regions where there are no permanent weather stations to provide reliable and accurate weather data,” Acting Chief Officer Cook said.

The ten weather stations cost $680,000 and were funded by the State Government. They can record temperature, humidity, wind speed and direction, and rain, with data transmitted using 4G or satellite technology.

“The stations will help firefighters understand fire behaviour on the ground during a fire incident, or by measuring the weather conditions of an area in the lead up to and during planned burn events,” Acting Chief Officer Cook said.

“They have a huge potential to improve our planning and responses, thereby improving firefighter and community safety as well.”