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World-leading Tech to Safeguard Firefighters from Toxins

Firefighters will be better protected from exposure to dangerous carcinogens than ever before with Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) rolling out world-leading decontamination technology and new fire station designs.

The Clean Firefighter, Clean Appliance and Clean Buildings Plan include:

  • AU$30 million of new structural protective clothing for all firefighters;
  • New design guidelines for fire stations with living, transition and working zones, and retrofitted with designated wash areas to control the spread of contaminants;
  • A new laundry app to streamline the decontamination process for firefighters’ clothing; and
  • Ongoing research into exposure and decontamination education, guidelines, and procedures.

The Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience stated that FRNSW is leading the world in providing state-of-the-art equipment, facilities, and practices to safeguard firefighters from harmful toxins. Firefighters considered a uniform covered in ash and soot a ‘badge of honour’ but now a greater understanding of the risks of carcinogens, it is important we take steps to safeguard frontline responders, she said.

This new programme is the first of its kind of fire service in the world and is the culmination of four years of challenging work. It is essential that these new procedures and resources are in place to protect not just personnel as well as their families as well.

The FRNSW Commissioner said the Clean Firefighter, Clean Appliance and Clean Buildings Plan helps to understand the risks confronting frontline staff and take appropriate action. He noted that the international research into cancer risks to firefighters continues but, in the meantime, there is now a blueprint in place to proceed with. Thus, the hygiene of NSW fire stations, uniforms, trucks are being enhanced and as well as operations, resulting in a practical and positive influence on our people’s safety.

OpenGov Asia reported recently that the NSW government rolled out the Bushfire Technology Pilots Program, allowing local businesses that are trialling innovative, field-ready bushfire technologies to apply for the second round of the programme.

The NSW Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology stated that the AU$2.6 million program would provide grants of up to AU$250,000, to help innovators turbocharge their research into practical solutions that will improve bushfire detection, preparation, and response.

The government is investing in these technologies to ensure State continues to be a world leader in bushfire technology. As well as giving homegrown innovators the opportunity to assess their innovative technology, the programme provides them with critical links to frontline services, so they can fast-track the adoption of innovative approaches.

The programme demonstrates the NSW government’s commitment to R&D, turning local research into new industries, which will create jobs, grow the economy, and help secure a brighter future for NSW.

The region’s Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience stated that the programme builds on the success of the first round of funding, with five innovative ideas now being piloted. She said that the first round of grants included providing power to remote sites, real-time monitoring of fire conditions and data-sharing.

By their very nature bushfires are difficult to control and extremely dangerous, which is why the region needs to invest in new technology to innovate the state’s firefighting response to better protect communities from future natural disasters. The minister added that she looks forward to seeing what innovations come through next to complement the incredible work of emergency service organisations.

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