Firefighters to quench their thirst

Paul King with Seeley International boss Frank Seeley, Baranduda CFA captain Paul Allwood and CFA members Gary Richardson (Chiltern) and David Box (Beechworth) and the new refrigerated trailer. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

Paul King with Seeley International boss Frank Seeley, Baranduda CFA captain Paul Allwood and CFA members Gary Richardson (Chiltern) and David Box (Beechworth) and the new refrigerated trailer. Picture: PETER MERKESTEYN

FIREFIGHTERS in the North East are set to benefit from a more reliable supply of cold water when tackling blazes this summer.

A $19,000 refrigerated trailer, which has been built at Wangaratta and funded with company donations, was unveiled yesterday in Albury.

CFA district 24 operations manager Paul King said having a dedicated cool room would allow up to a thousand 600 millilitre bottles of water to be distributed to parched firefighters.

“These are firefighters who are working in the worst of conditions, when temperatures are at their hottest so this will be a great help,” Mr King said.

“It’s been made to be as robust as possible so that it can sit out in a paddock on a 45 degree day and cool down water quickly.”

Mr King said previously firefighters relied on Eskies to keep water cool and he decided last November that a generator-powered refrigerated trailer was needed to better cater for those at fire fronts for extended periods.

The trailer was built by Wangaratta’s Oates Refrigeration, which is owned by the captain of the Carlyle CFA brigade, Trevor Cheeseman.

Mr King said a $10,000 donation from air conditioning firm Seeley International and contributions from Chep pallets ($5000) and accommodation house Quest ($2000) had helped fund the trailer.

Seeley founder and executive chairman Frank Seeley said he was happy to support the trailer after being approached to back the project by Baranduda CFA brigade captain Paul Allwood who is also one of his employees.

Mr King said the trailer would on show at various events leading up to the bushfire season and it was also hoped a dedicated toilet trailer would be ready for this summer.

He said female firefighters were reportedly going without drinking water while at blazes because they were embarrassed at not having suitable toilets.

“That is something we want to fix up,” he said.

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