Fuelled by the climate crisis, wildland fires are becoming faster, more unpredictable and more devastating, posing a threat to mankind in general and emergency bodies in particular.
In recent years we have seen a whole new dimension of pyro phenomena, unprecedented dry periods in northern countries and wildfires capable of creating their own weather, destroying the natural balance of the ecosystems. We are playing a whole different game.
Emergency systems require new strategies, new tactics and new equipment and tools to avoid the collapse.
Being able to respond to extreme situations while guaranteeing the safety of first responders means ensuring crews know how to work with the LACES system (Lookout, Anchor point, Communication, Escape routes and Safety zone) but also means more strategic deployments and advanced manoeuvres.
Anticipation is key to win the fire battle. The emergency systems in countries with a historical background of great wildfires know that. Using technology to forecast ignitions, model and monitor the advance of fronts when they occur, having the knowledge to read and analyse fire behaviour, will tell us when and where we will have an open window (a time frame in which weather conditions allow us to enter the fire line). But without the right tools, we won’t be able to respond as fast and as forcefully as these kind of new emergencies require.
Tactical Unit, a multi-functional module designed to face any type of emergency in a Wildland fire
More than a fire truck with great off-road performance, the Tactical Unit module is a revolutionary asset that can be used to design a number of attack strategies adapted to the various scenarios that can occur in a wildland operation. It is a tool box that can move easily in hard-to-reach areas and provide a logistic platform to combine advanced maneuvers to multiply the potential of the extinguishing systems.
Designed to transport machinery and tools anywhere no matter how remote, it can carry the Dronster emergency robot, a Heliskid, portable fire pumps, tools, PPE, equipment and accessories. The module is custom manufactured with a wide range of options and configurations to meet all kinds of operational needs and is adaptable to most light trucks available on the market. And it contributes on safety, as it can carry several self-protection kits with fire shelters, emergency respirators, fireproof blankets and self-protection nozzles.
- Custom manufactured modules.
- Great storage capacity: up to 3,000 L in four cabinets with aluminium blinds + upper tray.
- Heliskid: 3,000 L in capacity. Up to 25 bar and 363 L/min.
- Lightweight hydraulic truck crane to load and unload the Heliskid.
- Dronster multi-purpose robot.
- Steel and aluminium structure.
- Dimensions of the complete module: 270 x 220 x 166cm.
- Total weight of the module: 2,170kg (depending on the tools).
What is included?
Heliskid: water wherever and whenever you want: One of the engines configurated in the Tactical Unit is the Heliskid, a compact and versatile skid unit designed for easier direct attack operations with a water line in remote areas. The device can be moved on the ground or in the air and has six times more water capacity than a traditional skid unit and high-performance motor pump.
Quick and easy assembly: a completely operational system in less than 5 minutes.
Optimized loading time: the Heliskid tank is unique in that it can be supplied using aerial resources, thereby considerably reducing the time needed by standard trucks which use other trucks to load their water tanks.
Water available in hard-to-reach areas: can be heli-transported to remote areas where trucks and pick-ups can’t go.
Dronster: flexible, quick and versatile multi-purpose emergency robot
Another of the components of the Tactical Unit is the Dronster, a high-performance professional machine specially designed to work in the emergency field, helping to improve the security and efficiency of the operatives that work in a risky environment. The most versatile high-performance robot, robust, efficient and reliable.
The Dronster is a remote-control device that can be coupled to a number of different implements for fire extinguishing, defence and perimeter line creation, forest management and crop maintenance tasks as well as fire-safe zone creation. Plus, the transport tray can be used to carry backpacks, hoses, nozzles, motor pumps, saws and other tools.
- Creating lines of defence and fire perimeters
- Transporting tools and equipment
- Transporting wounded people
- Wildland management
Total traction to overcome the demands of wildlands
The variable front attack angle, off-ground chassis and built-in swing in the traction system absorbs rough terrain without destabilizing., providing flexible mobility at a speed of 5km/h.
Great operating capacity while minimizing field damage
The Dronster is capable of working efficiently on slopes of more than 30°. The small size means it can pass through 1m bushes, making it suitable for cleaning work, fire prevention and controlled burns.
Manoeuvres with the Tactical Unit, a practical case
In the last month of December, in the Órgiva wildfire (Andalucía, Spain) the wind speed didn’t allow for an intervention by aerial forces. The perimeter increased considerably in a matter of hours. In this kind of scenario, where wind shifts or any other change in fire behaviour can compromise or extend the operation, having a fire truck able to reach remote areas with engines and tools can be decisive.
In this case a water line was extended by deploying a Heliskid in one flank (3,000 litres water capacity and a high-performance fire pump). Then a Dronster was deployed, providing hand tools and drip torches simultaneously on a second flank to dig defence lines mechanically while using technical fire. This combination therefore comprised direct attack with a water line and indirect attack performed by the Dronster opening a defence line from which firefighters can start to burn out.
The weather conditions in the described scenario didn’t allow for helicopters to approach the site, but when we have the chance to combine the Tactical Unit with aerial support, the potential response of the extinguishing system is multiplied.
One tool for several emergencies
The Tactical Unit was specially made for wildfires, but it can be useful also in snowfalls, floods and other emergencies. It has been fully conceived by Vallfirest and developed in collaboration with professional firefighters from all over the world.
The world is facing the wildfires of the 21st century. Are you ready?
For more information, go to www.vallfirest.com