The Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW) stand will be one of the must-see highlights at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show as it shows off new gadgetry galore.
Since the 2019/2020 Black Summer bushfires, FRNSW has invested $57 million in state-of-the-art technology to change the way we respond to emergencies.
From drones used to fly over building infernos, beaming live ‘intel’ back to commanders working in new Mobile Command Centres (MCC) to portable communications equipment, used to restore vital telecommunications services to stranded residents and overcome dangerous ‘blackspots.’
The Royal Easter Show marks the first stop on Fire and Rescue’s NSW Roadshow, where it will showcase all the tech used in its “Connected Firefighter” program to communities throughout New South Wales.
Firefighters now use drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) to drop incendiary balls into bushland to safely start hazard reduction burns.
Fire trucks across the state are being fitted with radio, 4G and satellite connectivity to ensure uninterrupted communications during network outages.
This overcomes communication blackspots, allowing fire crews anywhere to call for help if needed.
Also on display will be satellite-based “Cell on Wheels” equipment, successfully used to restore telephone and internet facilities in flood-stricken towns on the mid-north coast in 2021 and at Eugowra in the central west last November.
FRNSW Commissioner Paul Baxter said the new technology, provided by the ‘Connected Firefighter’ program and other similar projects means safer and smarter working environments for our firefighters.
“During the Wickham ’10 alarm’ inferno we had in Newcastle in March last year, we used drones to fly above the burning woolsheds and relay ‘live” pictures back to a screen on one of our new, high-tech Mobile Command Centres where the incident controller used the images to best deploy his resources.
“We now have remote controls on our largest aerial platforms, known as ‘Brontos’, so a firefighter can safely watch from the ground as we extend the ladder 45 metres above emergencies.
“Our ground-breaking technology also means if we can’t rely on traditional communications during emergencies, our fire vehicles will provide mobile WiFi and satellite-based comms, which is a tremendous breakthrough for firefighter safety alone.
FRNSW has also introduced new vehicle and portable radios, allowing communication with NSW State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service crews, new Mobile Data Terminals in each fire truck and an upgrade of its existing Mobile Command Centres, featuring updated tech to aid critical decision-making during major emergencies.
FRNSW’s Royal Easter Show display will also include spectacular ‘live’ demonstrations, such as a controlled kitchen burn featuring tips on how to avoid your own cooking disaster.
Firefighters will demonstrate different tools they use during rescue and recovery operations; compete in a hose roll competition; and answer any of your fire safety questions.
Over the course of the 12-day event, fire safety lessons will also be translated into Vietnamese (11 April), Arabic and AUSLAN (13 April), and Chinese (14 April).
You can find the FRNSW team in the north-east corner of Cathy Freeman Park, near the Olympic Cauldron, just off Olympic Boulevard and the Grand Parade.