Rio Tinto Iron Ore (RTIO) operate numerous mine sites around the thinly populated Pilbara region of Western Australia. These remote mine sites are operated as Fly In/Fly out (FIFO) operations which is a method associated with flying personnel to remote mining operations in Australia for a short period of time instead of permanently relocating the employee and their families. Rio Tinto operate specific key airports to transport personnel to work on this basis.
The largest of these Fly in/Fly out sites is Boolgeeda Airport (YBGD) which has existed albeit originally with a dirt runway – since the 1950`s. In recent years the airport and its facilities have been significantly upgraded with a range of closed charter aircraft including Fokker 100, Boeing 737 and Airbus A320 now flying FIFO personnel direct to the airport from Albany, Perth, Busselton and Geraldton airports on a daily basis
As a private airport operator Rio Tinto are under no obligation to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) regulations. However the company are committed to providing a sustainable duty of care to their employees and therefore provide an appropriate level of fire and crash-rescue cover to oversee aircraft movements at their airport operations. Currently the company is upgrading this level of cover with a project incorporating the refurbishment and re-purposing of some existing vehicles as well as the sourcing of a large ARFF vehicle and three stored pressure CAFS fast response vehicles. In 2014 the company started discussions with Perth based Frontline Fire Rescue Equipment to supply a new airport rescue and fire-fighting vehicle for its Boolgeeda Airport operation as well as the supply of the CAFS fast response vehicles and the refurbishment project.
Frontline Fire & Rescue Equipment established in 2007 are one of Australia’s leading manufacturers of fire-fighting and specialist vehicles. From their new state of the art headquarters located in the Malaga district of Perth the company use the latest design technology and manufacturing processes to produce quality, innovative and practical fire appliances finished to the customers exact requirements. The company manufacture vehicles under contract for the Western Australia State Government and custom built vehicles for multi-national mining and oil/gas clients. They offer servicing and maintenance support for existing fire-fighting vehicle fleets and they are currently in the early stages of a 3 year multi-million dollar (A$) contract for the upgrade of 700 fire engines with enhanced crew protection measures including water deluge systems.
Frontline Fire & Rescue Equipment have recently delivered this stunning clean-flowing one-off custom built ARFF vehicle to Rio Tinto Iron Ore for its Boolgeeda Airport operation – the Australian built fire truck considered to be a serious rival to equivalent commercial based ARFF vehicles manufactured by leading international fire-engine manufacturers. Working closely with the customer the company have designed this stunning highly specified aerodrome fire-fighting and crash rescue vehicle from the ground up using the latest computer aided 3-D technology and the expertise of their technical, drafting and engineering teams. RTIO have acknowledged the importance of the local content of this project and the after sales, support and maintenance that can only be provided by a local supplier.
This airport crash tender is based on a special-build Scania P360CB 6×6 HHZ chassis fitted with a 265 kw Euro 5 diesel engine, 12 speed automated manual transmission, an engageable transfer case plus ABS braking. It features a Scania “Day” cab seating a driver and 1 crew with integrated SCBA seating and a modular aluminium body incorporating 4 large lockers enclosed by Centurion roller shutter doors. The rear pump module houses a Waterous CXVT pump delivering 3,800 lpm @ 10 bar which is powered by its own independent Cummins water-cooled diesel engine. The pump module also houses 2 x electric rewind hose reels complete with 60 metre x 25 mm booster hoses and Akron Pistol Grip nozzles; the comprehensive pump control panel, the on-board foam-fill system, various deliveries and the suction inlet.
The central tank module consists of a single alloy tank holding 8,000 litres of water, plus 1,000 litres of class “B” Solberg RF6 foam concentrate (linked to a FoamPro Auto-Foam foam proportioning system) and 200 litres of Solberg Fire-Brake concentrate (linked to a FoamPro Turbo-Foam foam proportioning system). The front module houses a skid mounted Perren Engineering 125 kg DCP system c/w hose reel and nozzle to the off-side – plus various stowed fire-fighting and crash-rescue apparatus. The tender makes use of an Akron Trident remote roof mounted monitor c/w manual in-cabin override combined with an Akron Electric foam nozzle delivering 3,000 lpm – plus an Akron Firefox remote bumper turret fitted with an Akron Electric Jet/Fog Master Stream nozzle – delivering 500 lpm. It also has under body foam sprays, a windscreen water spray system and is fitted with Hazard LED lighting to the front, sides,rear and roof of the fire truck.
This innovative crash tender was manufactured to a very high standard meeting all current ICAO and NFPA standards.
As the vehicle is to be operated by their existing Emergency Services staff, it was a requirement that the vehicle could be deployed and operated by only one person. Whilst its main purpose is to provide fire-cover to the aerodrome, the vehicle has been designed to complement the existing fleet of Mines Emergency Response Vehicles, at other incidents that may occur on the rural site.
For more information, go to www.ffre.com.au