This story is contributed by Warwick Lorenz from Australian Pump Industries. Warwick has learnt from the black summer of 2020. In this article he confronts the challenges facing us based on what appears to be the reality of climate change, and possible repercussion of the summer of ’21!
It’s impossible to ignore the recent weather in the Northern Hemisphere. Fires out of control in Siberia, Canada, Oregon, California and now the Mediterranean with Cyprus, Turkey and Greece facing disastrous wildfires. Experts tell us that this is the fire season that came three months early, providing exceptional challenges for firefighting authorities and populations that seem completely unprepared.
To balance that, we have seen floods in India, China, Germany and, would you believe it, even London. Meteorologists tell us that it is all about global warming. They say that the Arctic is warming at three times the rate of the rest of the globe, although nobody seems to be able to explain why. We can only speculate it is because of the environmental pollution coming out of the Northern Hemisphere countries, at least those that are heavily populated and industrialised. Those same countries, which must include the United States, China, Japan and western Europe, often have expanding populations that put demands on the globe for the convenience of electricity and, of course, a varied healthy diet that we have all come to expect as our right.
Prepare for the worst
We can hope and pray that the Northern Hemisphere phenomena will not be repeated in the South. However, we know that our winters are getting shorter, and we can expect earlier and longer-running fire seasons than ever before. Here at Australian Pump Industries, we work with firefighting authorities, a great dealer network and with the volunteer brigades where possible.
We have to be ready: be prepared for mobilisation
Since we understand that an early fire season is highly likely, and it would be sensible to ‘prepare for the worst’ then all levels should be pre-armed. We work with Honda to provide the world’s best lightweight portable fire pump and other products as well that are all related to firefighting. Our single-impeller Aussie Fire Chief with Honda engine is already renowned as the world’s best. We shipped pallet loads off to the States to fight fires in Oregon by air freight in late July and early August. The Americans know a good firefighting pump when they see it! They also like our five-year pump end warranty.
At the same time, we are fully mobilised to ship hundreds of pumps off to Europe and are already receiving dramatic applications, some from Authorised Honda Distributors looking for support with the possibility of urgent requirements for Spain, Portugal and even Morocco. We will do what we can even if it means working overtime to produce pumps, buying every possible Honda engine we can get.
Twin impellers, extra performance
When we developed our Mr. T twin-impeller pump, we learned that an effective twin-impeller pump can’t be run off a 6.5 or 5.5hp engine. Anybody who is promoting that concept is potentially misleading the humble end user. To get real performance out of the twin impeller of any brand, you just have to give it enough ‘stick’. That’s why the smallest Aussie twin impeller runs off a 9hp Honda GX270, while our diesels are driven by 10hp L100 diesels.
We won’t underpower a product because we know what happens during the intense heat of a fire. We call it the ‘Magnum Force Effect’. If you are going to be armed, you need to be armed with a product that will work. Honda have been a terrific support to us in the evolution of our product and in helping us with distribution around the globe. Their service support team in almost every country in the world, is very proactive and will honour the ‘Universal’ warranty that comes with every engine in our specifications. Honda has never let us down and their people go out of their way to support us in supplying what we believe is the world’s best petrol engine and supplying it on time.
The diesel difference
Having diesel obviously gives major advantages over a petrol drive engine. The fuel is significantly less volatile, providing a very important safety factory for anybody planning to either fight a fire or defend their property. On the other hand, they are more expensive, and they are heavier.
We use Yanmar and Kubota engines from first-world factories in Europe and Japan respectively. The engines are first class and the support that we get in Australia and around the world excellent. We also like the way those diesel-powered pumps right through our product range operate in a way that is significantly safer than using gasoline.
That is safer for the homeowner, safer for the volunteer, and for the professional firefighter.
The winter burn
There is a strong undercurrent feeling amongst people living in what is dubbed the ‘Urban Interface’. By that we mean the 1.5 to 2 million Aussie homes, farms or even businesses that are located amongst tree suburbs or townships. Don’t think we didn’t notice that Canadian towns were burnt to cinders and many lives lost. It reminds us of Cobargo, Batemans Bay and Bawley Point in the black summer. We know it is possible and it can happen here. Our job is to reach those folks to try to help them, to prep their properties by providing useful advice and products that work.
Aussie Fire Survival Guides
How do we get the Fire Survival Guides out? That’s easy, we send them to our volunteer brigades to pass out to their members and their families. We send out huge quantities to our dealerships, not just in Australia but around the world, and work with firefighting authorities wherever we can to make sure that what we are doing is in line with their ideas as well.
Setting a house up with sprinklers, an adequate supply of water and a top-quality pump is mandatory. If you are going to protect a building, you have to set the building up to be ready for fire. Our job as manufacturers, dealers and distribution points as outlets in contact with the users is obvious: get them informed. Once they know everything that we know, the rest is up to them.
Equipping with the essentials
There is no point setting out to fight a fire with a pump if you don’t have a water resource! If you have got a water resource and no pump, you are wasting your time. Of course, the reverse is true as well.
As they say in the military, there are only three things that count and they are ‘Capability, Capability, Capability.’
We believe everyone deserves the best product and we will build every pump we possibly can get engines for this coming season.
Further info including free copies of the Fire Survival Guide and enquiries about distributorships where Aussie isn’t currently represented is available from the website.
For more information, go to www.aussiepumps.com.au