The RFBAQ are fusing the crew safety learnings from the Innovation Platform onto the RFBAQ designed Landcruiser Light Attack. Come see this vehicle at AFAC 22 in Adelaide, and over the next 12 months the vehicle will visit brigades for feedback.
Three key features of the Fusion Cruiser are the specially designed 550-litre belly tank, thermal-imaging cameras mounted on the front of the vehicle and on the cab, and two Dräger escape hoods.
550-litre belly tank
The unique rotomoulded underbody 550-litre water tank has been designed and built by QuikCorp Fire Engineering. Running along the tray with a large sump under the chassis, the design results in an excellent centre of gravity, and allows for increased storage/stowage on the back of the vehicle. It allows for such features as a through chainsaw locker and fridge. The spare tyre has been cleverly included behind a door at the rear of the vehicle and is completely surrounded by the tank.
FLIR PathFindIR II thermal-imaging cameras
For increased safety and awareness, the vehicle is equipped with two thermal-imaging cameras. Both are FLIR PathFindIR II units at heart, selected in collaboration with GTEK Pty Ltd. One is mounted on the front of the vehicle and will allow the brigade member in control of the vehicle to see up to four times further than standard headlights in complete darkness. It will allow visibility through smoke, fog and dust. Using its unique detection algorithms, the unit can detect and visually highlight both people and animals that may otherwise be invisible to the vehicle occupants.
Mounted on the roof of the vehicle is a GTEK SMT Series system, featuring another FLIR PathFindIR II in a custom housing. This particular unit has a reduced range, but increased field of view. Mounted to a manual pan tilt lever the camera can be rotated from within the cab giving a wide field of view of the vehicle’s surrounds. This would aide in identifying hotspots and potentially people.
Dräger Parat 7500 escape hoods
The vehicle will have two Dräger fire escape hoods fitted in the cab for easy access by driver and passenger.
This is to increase firefighter safety during a burnover and then the subsequent escape from the burning vehicle. This will work in conjunction with the Sentinel300, CAFS cab protection sprays and the fire curtains.
With a replaceable filter, the unit will protect the wearer from industrial and fire-related gases, vapours and particles for at least 15 minutes.
Additionally, the Fusion Cruiser will have the following features and inclusions:
- Sentinel 300 air purifier that will be located behind the cab.
- An over-cab CAFS crew protection spray that is activated from within the cab using a dedicated electric motor.
- An electric chainsaw and charge point to reduce the amount and types of fuel carried.
- Batter sprays, both drivers and passengers side, activated by either driver or passenger.
- Passenger side firefighting outlet behind cab.
- Main pump start and revs managed from within cab.
- Crew protection blanket located within cab for ease of access in emergency.
- Drip torch fuel storage built under tray (there will be no fuel stored in lockers).
- All lockers keyed alike.
- Auxiliary battery.
- Rated recovery points front and rear.
- Built in bushfire mapping tablet holder and integrated charge points.
- Mobile Cellular Network Signal Booster Repeater Amplifier Unit.
- 1B50 Hatz engine to GAAM 70D pump.
- Steel bull bar and brush bars.
- 4.2-tonne GVM upgrade by Lovells.
With full stowage and two firefighters the vehicle weight is forecast to come in at 3.9 tonne.
The cab chassis is a GXL (instead of the Workmate as used in our previous vehicles) as the GXL has diff lock and comfier seats.
The launch of the vehicle is at FarmFest Toowoomba 2022 and is then being showcased to brigade members until June 2023 where the chosen brigade drives away from the third Rural Fire Service Queensland (RFSQ) Summit in the vehicle.
A huge thanks to RFSQ/Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) for covering the fuel and maintenance, the full stowage, lightbars and siren on the vehicle as well as travel costs when the vehicle is out in brigade land.
Expressions of interest will open in late December 2022 to Queensland rural fire brigades without a fire truck and brigades with a new/near new fire truck that can be cascaded to a brigade without a fire truck.
What was the genesis of the idea? In 2019 the RFBAQ State Executive met and resolved: ‘To produce six fit-for-task light attack vehicles built on a Landcruiser chassis. That these RFBAQ prototypes be showcased to brigades for ideas and feedback and that after display at the 2020 LGAQ Annual Conference, the vehicles be given as a grant to brigades that do not currently have vehicles and are in great need of a robust light attack.’
The background for this resolution stemmed from a number of identified problems with the existing choice of light attack fire trucks available to brigades.
Problem: There is no purpose-built light attack for Rural Fire Brigades in Queensland.
Outcome: Brigades can choose from a Ford Ranger space cab with mop up unit or Toyota Landcruiser purpose-built light attacks.
Problem: The QFES will not grow the rural fire fleet into brigades that do not currently have a fire truck.
Outcome: Focus the conversation onto communities that have a need for a fire truck to be able to better defend themselves; provide six communities with a fire truck.
Problem: The consultation process regarding prototype vehicle design is not transparent in its feedback.
Outcome: Create and demonstrate a best-practice vehicle design consultation process that engages with brigades in the field and has an open and transparent feedback and design improvement process while providing education to brigades on what is possible and feasible.
Problem: QFES acknowledgment of brigade-owned vehicle status review and the disposal of vehicles and retention of the funds by the brigade owners.
Outcome: As agreed in legal status with QFES, brigade-owned equipment is equipment that does not have $1 of State Money. This includes equipment provided by the RFBAQ. At the end of 20 years the brigade will be able to dispose of the asset and use the funds towards another brigade activity.
Problem: QFES fire trucks are disposed of by PSBA and the RFBAQ has received complaints that the local fire trucks are not staying in the local area.
Outcome: Brigade can dispose of vehicle into local community to increase the amount of firefighting equipment in the community.
Problem: Lack of desire to spend the money to grow the fleet or vary the type of vehicle produced outside of existing designs.
Outcome: Collate list of brigades without any fire trucks and have a need of a vehicle for community defence. Collate types of vehicles identified and work with RFSQ to meet identified need.
Problem: Sections within QFES regarding vehicle design ignore the Brigades, the RFBAQ and RFSQ Paid Staff and go slow on other matters they are directed to undertake.
Outcome: Go around the blockage by owning process in conjunction with the Brigades, the RFBAQ and RFSQ Paid Staff.
Six prototype vehicles were constructed and toured Queensland brigades. Comprehensive feedback was received from brigades, collated and made available on our website at www.rfbaq.org/la-prototype . This feedback was then used to produce a further two LandCruiser-based light attack fire trucks.
Each truck was fully funded by donations from business and a very generous public and each truck became the property of the individual Rural Fire Brigades they were eventually given to.
The RFBAQ received 16 applications from truckless brigades across Queensland who would like to improve their community defence abilities. The eight very worthy brigades chosen were Fassio Road RFB, Bilyana RFB, Bowen River RFB, Ogmore RFB, Kunwarara RFB, Coalstoun Lakes RFB, Wetlands RFB, Oman Ama RFB and Bymount RFB.
Be sure to take a close look at the RFBAQ Fusion Cruiser when you attend the 2022 AFAC Conference. General Manager Justin Choveaux will be on hand to answer any questions you may have about this exciting new vehicle.
For more information, go to www.rfbaq.org/smoke-signals-editions