You’re not likely to see it very often, but Fire and Rescue NSW has upgraded their drill duty wear from blue cotton pants and shirts to new black gear which is “a little bit sleeker, a little bit more modern.”
That’s according to Tumut 467 Station Deputy Captain Tim Salmon.
“It’s not as heavy and not as hot,” he said from the station on Tuesday, just after the new gear arrived.
Each fire fighter will receive two sets of the new duty wear. The black gear will be worn underneath the heavy tan Personal Protective Equipment which firefighters wear to fire calls. It will typically only be seen by the public at community events and during some rescue activities.
The change came with a change in the vendor Fire and Rescue NSW uses to source equipment and gave the organisation an opportunity to take advantage of newer, lighter-weight engineered materials which are more similar to American-style hiking clothes than the heavy blue cotton of yesteryear.
“There’s a lot of badges compared to the old gear,” pointed out Mr Salmon.
“The pants have badges, too, so you won’t miss us.”
The new uniforms are being rolled out statewide this month and designed to be worn year-round, summer or winter.
Mr Salmon welcomed the upgrade and said the local guys haven’t yet flame-tested the gear, but they’ve worn it to a few fire calls.
“The material looks like it has better function and form,” he said.
Fire and Rescue NSW said the change was aimed at making firefighters “easily identifiable as your local emergency service that is more than fire.”
“There are plenty of patches,” agreed Mr Salmon, pointing out the shoulder, arm, back and leg badges a third time.
Previously known only as Fire NSW, the organisation increased the focus on their rescue activities roughly ten years ago.
“We’ve always done rescue, but that never was acknowledged,” explained Mr Salmon.
The Tumut 467 Station currently consists of 13 firefighters in a “retained” style of station, where the firefighters hold other jobs as their primary source of income and are on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
On average, the crew responds to 120 to 150 calls each year, mostly Automatic Fire Alarms at larger businesses like VISY or the local mills. Mr Salmon said the station will usually respond to a “fully active,” “against the flames” fire six to ten times a year. That could include a domestic dwelling or an industrial blaze.
Tumut’s firefighters also provided strike team support during the Dunns Road fire, maintaining a key focus on Tumut’s town defense, while supporting the strike teams in Batlow, Khancoban, Tumbarumba and Talbingo.
Aside from firefighting, the local team also responds to motor vehicle accidents to help with rescue or extrication and provides the State Emergency Service with assistance as needed.
Fire and Rescue NSW says new Personal Protective Clothing – the “attire for fire” – will also be coming later this year, and is extremely durable, “exceeds industry standards and is designed for ultimate movement and protection.”