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New technology for Melbourne firefighters a world first

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26 Aug 2015
New Melbourne-made stowage equipment rolled out on MFB fire trucks.

Fully automated and adjustable to different heights – MFB is rolling out new breathing apparatus stowage technology designed and developed in Melbourne, making it safer for firefighters to use the equipment in life threatening situations.

Firefighters are required to wear breathing apparatus at every incident where air quality could be affected, which can be several times a day.

MFB and Sunshine based company Bell Environmental have teamed up to make it safer and easier to access the equipment by designing a new bracket to store the cylinders on fire trucks.

The ergonomic design means firefighters can not only access the equipment quickly, but are at less risk of injuring themselves by bending or twisting when donning the gear. Best of all, the bracket was made in Melbourne.

MFB Fleet Services Engineering and Development Manager Stuart Collis said the end result was an operator-friendly system of which the MFB could be proud.

“By automating the deployment and stowage of BA sets and spare cylinders, MFB has reduced the risk of soft tissue and joint injuries caused by removing or replacing the bracket from the appliance,” he said.

“The bracket was designed and made locally, and feedback from firefighters who have already used the brackets has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The new bracket is one component of a program to upgrade and improve MFB’s breathing apparatus equipment.

Victoria’s fire services (MFB and CFA) have recently banded together to purchase new breathing apparatus cylinders in bulk that boast improved safety features and an additional four minutes breathing time.

When new 6.8 litre breathing air cylinders are rolled out across the Metropolitan District later this year, they will be housed in the brackets, which are currently being retrofitted to MFB fire trucks.

Above: An MFB firefighter dons a breathing apparatus from the new BA bracket.

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