The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) team were asked to stop in on a Brigade to discuss something that its members appear to have discovered about the current fleet that could be a potentially dangerous design fault in all firefighting appliances.

Now, before we go any further, for those keyboard warriors who like to jump up and down about us doing our job, let us state that we completely accept that even the biggest manufacturers in the world occasionally make mistakes and have to recall their products for modification. If this turns out to be a design flaw across the whole fleet, the AVBFB will be very happy if it is simply acknowledged and fixed.

However, we are very disappointed to learn that when the bright members who found the problem tried to raise the issue with decision-makers, they were met with derision and felt like their concerns for other volunteers – who should know about this before they are on a fire ground – were simply ignored. We know the new Commissioner is trying and goodness knows the extent to which the AVBFB and other associations have gone to try to change the culture, but sadly, many issues raised by the Ferguson Report (and others) still exist.

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As exhausted as we are in that regard, we will persist.

But for now, the most important issue is to make our members aware that when your foam runs out, your main water pump could lose prime.

Evidently, the standard design has foam injected into the main firefighting water line pre-pump. While there is foam in the bottle, this appears to work well. However, when the foam runs out and the injection line begins to suck air, the pump on the vehicle in question almost always loses prime resulting in little more than a trickle of water coming out of the hose – obviously not ideal in the middle of a raging bushfire.

The short video below shows how within 60 seconds of emptying the foam bottle, the main water pump on the appliance tested begins to fail and stops delivering water at a useful pressure.

We will do our very best to have the issue investigated thoroughly and report any findings/action back through ASAP.

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However, in the meantime, please take a moment to watch the video below and be aware that if you are using the foam injection system that is pre-pump, an empty foam bottle could cause the dangerous situation of losing water pressure. (Apologies for the quality of the audio – the pump was obviously running in order to replicate the problem.)

Thank you to the volunteers who, after encountering the problem, spent their time and expertise to identify the cause then try to raise the issue with decision-makers before feeling the need to approach the Association.

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