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NEW FIRE BRIGADES HAZMAT UNIT TO PROTECT NARRABRI

Published: 6th July 2006

Minister for Emergency Services Tony Kelly today said the protection of life, property and the environment in the Narrabri Shire has received a major boost with the Narrabri Fire Station receiving a new $190,000 Intermediate Hazardous Materials (Hazmat) van.

"Narrabri is the latest fire station in NSW to receive one of these new high-tech vehicles," Mr Kelly said.

"The new Hazmat vans, which are specially designed to assist fire crews to combat hazardous material incidents, are part of the Iemma Government's $144 million eight-year program to upgrade the NSW Fire Brigades' fire engine fleet," he said.

The role of the new Intermediate Hazmat response unit would be to assist and provide specialist equipment to local fire crews when attending Hazmat incidents within a 200 kilometre radius of Narrabri.

The Hazmat van would also respond to chemical and fuel spills resulting from accidents on the Newell Highway and other roads, as well as helping the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) respond to natural disasters in the area.

"The NSWFB is the agency responsible for hazardous material emergencies throughout the State. As well as saving lives, firefighters play a vital role in protecting one of the State's greatest assets - the environment," Mr Kelly said.

In 2004/05 the Narrabri Fire Station responded to 170 emergencies. The firefighters have undergone and will continue to conduct training in tanker rollover, as well as conducting regular exercises on hazardous material spills.

The Intermediate Hazmat Van is capable of containing and recovering fuel spills of up to 1,000 litres on land and 5,000 litres on water.

Equipment carried by the new vehicle includes weather station, gas detectors, protective clothing including fully encapsulated suits, hydrocarbon skimmers, air-inflated containment booms, absorbents to mop up chemical and fuel spills, decontamination systems and a comprehensive chemical database.

Commissioner Greg Mullins of the NSWFB welcomed the new addition to the fleet.

"This custom-built equipment means our firefighters will be better equipped to deal with hazardous material incidents, including chemical, biological or radiological emergencies," Commissioner Mullins said.

Further information on the Intermediate Hazmat Van can be viewed at here.