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New specialist appliances named in honour of late firefighters

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15 Mar 2013
To honour firefighters who have passed away, the Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade has a tradition of naming new appliances after them.

MFB’s award-winning Breathing Apparatus and Hazmat appliances were recently commissioned and this weekend will be officially named after the late Station Officer Rob Kelly and Station Officer Robert “Bob” Short due to their dedication and efforts over their careers.  The appliances will be based at South Melbourne Fire Station, which is the designated Hazmat station.

SO Short spent 30 years as an MFB firefighter, dedicating much of his time to the Hazmat Unit of Emergency Management.  He played a significant role in the development of the Hazmat Technicians Course, providing critical skills to firefighters to safely deal with hazardous material incidents.  The course has since been rolled out across the country.

SO Kelly was a firefighter for more than 20 years, devoting significant time and effort to researching Breathing Apparatus technology for firefighters. Today firefighters can spend extended periods of time wearing the equipment due to the work Rob conducted.

The new appliances were designed by an ergonomist and at the 2012 Worksafe Awards won in the Best Solution to a Workplace Health and Safety Issue category.

MFB CEO Nick Easy said special care had been taken in the design of the appliances to better utilise storage space and eliminate the inherent risk of manual handling as identified by firefighters and health and safety representatives.

“With the existing Breathing Apparatus and Decontamination Units at the end of service life, MFB took the opportunity to create something world-class and significant consultation was conducted with those using the appliances, technicians and ergonomists,” he said.

“The result is one we are incredibly proud of. The appliances are state-of-the-art, functional, and are a tribute to the work of the firefighters that they are named after.”

Key features:

  • Increased capacity for carrying Breathing Apparatus cylinders and other necessary equipment.
  • Elimination of all previously identified OHS risks identified on superseded appliances. 
  • Lifting mechanism for airline trolley built in.
  • Wash station with heated water and hot air to wash and dry BA mask more efficiently and quickly.
  • Fully automated and lockable appliance compartments.
  • Better scene lighting.
  • Quick and easy setup of equipment, one person can have the appliance operational within four minutes.
  • Heavy equipment on Hazmat is carried on wheeled trolleys. Heavy gear is accessible from the hydraulic tailgate.

Hazmat Unit:


Breathing Apparatus Unit:

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