Monday, December 29, 2014

A Tribute to G/CRK 11 Heavy Tanker

A new G/CRK 11 heavy tanker was handed over to the Guises Creek Brigade on 12 Nov 2014. It replaced the old G/CRK 11 tanker which had been in service since 1997. Guises Creek Brigade members really loved and respected the old G/CRK 11. She was very rugged and reliable vehicle and was beautifully crafted for fire-fighting. Crews attended hundreds of fires in her, were trained in her, attended numerous community events and have lots of very fond memories of her. This blog is a tribute to the 'old girl' and shares a few of the highlights of various fires and events over the last 17 years.

Hand-over of new ACT Rural Fire Service heavy tanker G/CRK 11 and retirement of the old G/CRK 11 from service on 12 Nov 2014.  Photo: Paul Simakoff-Ellims
The new Guises Creek heavy tanker G/CRK 11 is welcomed by members and entered active service on 12 Nov 2014.   Photo: Gary Hooker
G/CRK 11 entered service in 1997 and was based at the Guises Creek Volunteer Fire Brigade Station, located on the Monaro Highway, about 8kms south of Calwell, ACT. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 went to Moruya fires in 2002 as part of an Inter-State Task Force: Photo: Bruce Ferrett

G/CRK 11 at Boboyan Pines, Namadgi National Park, during the major Canberra Bushfires in Jan 2003. Photo:Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 on her side after a bridge collapse in Namadgi National Park during the Canberra Bushfires, Jan 2003. Photo: Franco Ormazabal

The crew was unhurt but the passenger door was jammed shut by a tree. Photo: Franco Ormazabal

G/CRK 11 emerges from her precarious position and is soon back in service (a new passenger door had to be fitted by the workshops overnight). An Army bulldozer assisted with this recovery. Photo: Franco Ormazabal

G/CRK 11 loved attending Hazard Reduction burns. Here she was working at what is now the site of the Goodwin Village, Monash. Houses have since been built on this spot. Photo: Gary Hooker

A Hazard Reduction burn at Mackillop College, Monash in 2006. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 attended annual ACTRFS field day events giving crews and members of the public a closer look at what fire-fighters do. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 attended the Tuggeranong Markets every second Sunday of the month, located at the old Tuggeranong Homestead.

G/CRK 11 kept the dust down at the Tuggeranong Markets. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 inspired many youngsters to become fire-firefighters of the future. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 loved being clean and shiny. G/CRK 11 and G/CRK 20 on the shores of Lake Burley Griffen, Canberra.
Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CK 11 attended the annual Tuggeranong Festivals. Hundreds of kids learned to squirt hoses with the flame game with her. (Some other big kids also had fun too)! Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 was sent on many Inter-State Task Forces. For example, approaching the front line of the fire near Beechworth, during the Vic Feb 2009 bushfire disaster. Photo: Gary Hooker

Dennis Kugler, Senior Deputy Captain, spent many years behind the steering wheel of G/CRK 11 and drove her all of her life.  Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 protected crews during some pretty harrowing experiences! Looking at the approaching fire from the cabin of G/CRK 11 during operations at Beechworth, Vic during Feb 2009.  Photo: Gary Hooker
G/CRK 11 loved the smell of smoke and sound of bulldozers putting in containment lines. Photo: Gary Hooker
G/CRK 11 worked hard both day and night. Brendan Smyth puts out a few smokers on a night shift. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 was a team player. She loved being around other trucks. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 accepted water from lots of different water sources. Task Force 2 - Vic Bushfires, Feb 2009 - Filling up with water from a local water truck, near Beechworth, Vic. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 loved back burning.  Task Force 3 Vic Bushfires, Feb 2009 - night crew near Alexandria. Photo: Ryan Lawrey (Parks)
G/CRK 11 was often showered with flying embers. Photo: Ryan Lawrey (Parks)
A farmer was happy to let a bored G/CRK 11 crew etch  the word "G/CRAK11" into his burnt out paddock. The term  GCRAK was a joke because of some mis-communications over the radio. Task force 5 - Vic Bushfires Feb 2009.
Photo: Dennis Kugler

"You could see "GCRAK 11" from space" - Task force 5 Vic Bushfires Feb 2009. Photo: Dennis Kugler

G/CRK 11 was hit by a tree and was damaged.  Task Force 6 - A large tree branch falls on G/CRK11 near Daylesford, Victoria in Feb 2009. One member from another Brigade was on the back when the tree came down and was rather shaken. The rest of the crew was unhurt.

G/CRK 11 helped many local property owners reduce their fire hazards. HR burn located at a property located near the Monaro Highway. Photo: Gary Hooker

G/CRK 11 was not afraid of flames or heat. HR burn at Fisher - Tina Siver on the back of G/CRK11 keeps the flames within foam boundaries.

G/CRK 11 also attended many fires with ACT Fire and Rescue units. Photo: Gary Hooker

The grand old girl sits on the crest of the Calwell Hill looking down across the valley below - HR burn 2012.

G/CRK 11 loved bringing Santa to the kids each year! Photo:Gary Hooker
G/CRK 11 enjoyed her role in training RFS members at Hume Training Base in 2012. Photo: Gary Hooker

Farewell 'Old Girl' - the last photo taken of the old G/CRK 11 before decommissioning from 12 Nov 2014. Most of these older Brigade members have been with her since 1997 and have plenty of stories to tell!

Members of the Gusies Creek Brigade would like to take this opportunity to salute the old G/CRK 11 and say a big "Thank You" to her and to all who served in her!!!

Many thanks also go to the ACT Emergency Services Agency Workshops crews who  maintained her and kept her in great working order for the last 17 years. Well done team!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

2014 Open Day and Field Day Competition

On 26 October the ACT Rural Fire Service held its annual Open Day at the Hume Helibase alongside the Volunteer Brigades Association Field Day.

The Open Day provided an opportunity for the community to engage with fire safety messages at the start of the season while the Field Day put ACT and NSW teams to the test with a series of challenging exercises. The Michelago team from NSW RFS were the stand out team on the day. 

Know your fire danger ratings
Helitak 273 was available for a hands on demonstration
ACT Fire and Rescue as well as ACT Policing got into the spirit
The burn table demonstrated the benefits of a well prepared home
The burn table also demonstrated the risks of not preparing for fire season
A couple of squirts from the spray bottle demonstrates help from an RFS tanker
One of the many community engagement stands at the Helibase
Amongst the displays was a look back at the history of firefighting in the ACT

One of the Field Day teams during the Medium unit event

A captain from NSW RFS guides his crew through the slalom

Another crew takes part in a combined First Aid and Navigation exercise

Bullex were on hand to help the RFS demonstrate some live firefighting

A crew simulates an approach to a venting LPG tank

An ACT Parks and Conservation crew takes part in the Heavy Tanker event
A great turn out by NSW RFS at this years Open Day

Thanks to Emma Van Der Moezel for the above photos! 

Captain Dave Tunbridge, Molonglo Brigade, has also provided some more great photos of the days activities which are listed below.

Dave Wassall briefs crews about the days activities - Photo: Dave Tunbridge

Simon Katz gives a few more tips - Photo: Dave Tunbridge

Historic Tanker 112 - Photo: Dave Tunbridge

ACT RFS Chief Officer, Andrew Stark,  greets the helicopter crew Photo: Dave Tunbridge

Make sure that drum is full! Photo: Dave Tunbridge

Group Officer Pat "Grumpy" Barling keeps an eagle eye on whats happening - Photo: Dave Tunbridge 

A pumps and pumping drill - Photo: Dave Tunbridge 

Photo: Dave Tunbridge

The water goes into the drum - Photo: Dave Tunbridge

Wood chopping - assessing correct use of axe - Photo: Dave Tunbridge