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Fire research exercise under way at Parkes

Published: 13th September 2011

About 40 emergency services personnel and university researchers have descended on Parkes this week for a multi-agency research exercise to identify new techniques for investigating fire scenes and fire-related crimes.

Officers from the Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Fire Investigation and Research Unit, the local Parkes fire brigade, NSW Police Force, Australian Federal Police and researchers from the University of NSW and the University of Western Sydney are taking part in the four-day exercise at Parkes Airport.

A derelict airport property earmarked for demolition will be used for simulating different types of fire scenes, and will be systematically burned under controlled conditions.

FRNSW Fire Investigation and Research Unit Operations Officer, Inspector Bob Alexander, said FRNSW would be conducting a series of tests throughout the week, examining both fire safety and fire investigation techniques.

“We will be testing how fires behave in a variety of scenarios in order to get a better understanding of how fires develop,” Inspector Alexander said.

“We have been working closely with university researchers to develop models on fire behaviour to assist our investigators when examining the cause of fires. This week’s exercise gives us an opportunity to test some of those theories.

“We will also be capturing footage of the fires from both internal and external perspectives which will be used to train FRNSW fire investigators.”

FRNSW Zone Commander, Superintendent Greg Lewis, said the exercise would also give local fire and rescue officers an opportunity to gain training in the latest fire investigation techniques.

“This is a great opportunity for local personnel to receive some tuition in fire behaviour and an understanding of the principles of examining a fire scene,” he said.

“We are grateful to Parkes Shire Council for offering the derelict building to FRNSW for use before its demolition.”