DEALING with gas leaks, chemical spills hazardous materials and emergency decontamination procedures is all part of the day for Lismore's fire-fighters.
According to New South Wales Fire & Rescue Northern Rivers Inspector Gary White, around 10% of the incidents the fire-fighters attend involve hazardous materials.
"In the 2016-17 financial year, Goonellabah fire-fighters responded to approximately 35 hazardous materials incidents and 354 fire and emergency calls,” he said.
From preventing spills in waterways to ensuring atmospheres are safe after an incident, the crews at NSW Fire & Rescue Goonellabah Station were delighted to welcome Thomas George MP and Troy Grant MP, Minister for Police, Minister for Emergency Services, when the pair turned up to hand over the keys to a new Hazmat vehicle. Minister Grant said he was sure the $105,000 van would be put to good use.
Member for Lismore Thomas George said the new Mercedes Benz Sprinter will increase FRNSW's capability to deal with large incidents, particularly those involving hazard materials.
"When it comes to front-line emergency services, you don't get any more front-line than protecting lives and property at fires, chemical spills and other major emergencies,” Mr George said.
"This new HAZMAT van has special equipment for hazardous materials incidents such as gas detectors, absorbent booms and bins for disposing of hazardous materials.
Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant welcomed the addition to the Goonellabah Fire Station.
"Our fire-fighters are the best in the world. The men and women who rush into emergency situations to save lives and property are so good at what they do because of their training and the team they work alongside, however, having the latest equipment means they can operate at the best of their capabilities,” Mr Grant said
"In July the NSW Premier handed over the keys to a similar van for the Tweed Heads Fire Station. I'm proud to be part of a Government that continues to provide fire and rescue officers with the best equipment for their vital work in protecting NSW families.”
FRNSW Northern Rivers Zone Commander, Superintendent Greg Lewis said fire and rescue officers at Goonellabah Fire Station and across the district do an extraordinary job protecting their communities.
"New state-of-the-art equipment helps fire and rescue officers with their vital work in protecting families and properties,” Mr Lewis said.
Goonellabah's deputy captain Andrew Snape said the new Intermediate Hazardous Materials van is equipped with detection equipment and has the capability to access chemical databases with information on chemical, biological, radiological and toxic industrial chemical substances.
He said equipment from the old van were transferred to the new one.
"It carries gas detectors, absorbent booms and bins for disposing of hazardous materials, multiple breathing apparatus cylinders, weather and other special equipment vital for protracted Hazmat incidents,” he said.
"The van allows us to attend, combat and render safe any land-based or inland waterway spillage of hazardous materials and we can use it as a command centre.”