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MFB Well Advanced in Growing Marine Fire Fighting Capability

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22 Mar 2012
Metropolitan Fire Brigade has clarified the situation regarding its capacity to manage marine-based fires following the Docklands blaze that gutted a luxury motor yacht yesterday.

Chief Fire Officer Shane Wright said he had discussed the management of the Docklands fire with the firefighter directly controlling the incident and agreed it would not have changed had there been a larger fire fighting boat available.

"The fire was well advanced and had become a matter of containment to stop the fire spreading to the dock and other vessels. This was achieved in a highly professional manner with a highly aggressive land-based attack by more than 50 firefighters that used a combination of water and foam,” said CFO Wright.

“Meanwhile we worked closely with other agencies including Victoria Police, tugboat operators and Coast Guard. Several web and media warnings were issued in regard to the smoke with advice that it could cause irritations especially for those with respiratory issues and that people in the path of the smoke plume should shelter in place."

Mr Wright said MFB was in a process of building its marine capacity in a $9.8 million project and that was already underway including:

• Developed boat specifications for a 9 metre and a 12 metre boat which have been endorsed by MFB Board and the UFU
• Developed the tenders for their purchase
• Sought to source an interim boat
• Swift water survival training for marine fire fighters has commenced and will be completed by April
• Personal Protection Clothing is being evaluated
• Up to 100 firefighters expected to commence training in shipboard firefighting by June
• Future training programs and partnerships are under evaluation
• ESTA has marine despatch protocols
• Partnership agreements to use tug boats
• Interim vessels investigated but deemed unsuitable at this point
• Continue to work with Transport Safety Victoria on the boat owner fire education program

"MFB is working to increase its capacity and it is incorrect to portray the situation as one that has not progressed especially when there has been extensive consultation with the UFU at its request," said CFO Wright.

“MFB will continue to provide the best fire fighting service to all Melbourne including to the marine sector, but recognises that it must do so while returning the best value to the community. It is vital we procure the right equipment, at the right price and give the best emergency service we can.”

For enquiries contact:
MFB Media and Communications: (03) 9665 4699

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