The Victorian state government has announced plans to upgrade 130 trucks from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) fleet in a bid to better serve the OHS needs of firefighters.

Speaking on October 22, Minister for Police and Emergency Services Kim Wells said that the crew protection retrofit program, which had the aim of protecting volunteer firefighters in the event of a burnout, was well ahead of schedule.

A total of 74 trucks had already been retrofitted before this fire season, with a further 130 trucks lined up to be upgraded by June next year. The number of upgraded CFA vehicles now stands at 1,048.

Mr Wells explained just how the modified trucks would help protect workers.

“Retrofitted trucks are fitted with protections including radiant heat protective curtains, water-spraying systems, heat-shielding panels and upgraded intercom communication systems,” he said.

The new trucks will therefore better protect firefighters in the event of a burnover, allowing them to safely take shelter in the truck itself.

“We’re proud of the vital work performed by the CFA, one of the world’s largest volunteer organisations with more than 60,000 members – 98 per cent volunteers,” Mr Wells said.

“It is vital that we are providing them with the facilities and equipment they need to save lives and property, and the protection they need to stay safe on the frontline.”

With temperatures across Australia picking up and heightening the risk of bushfires, the upgrades represent a sensible move on the part of the government to protect some of its most important workers.

Protecting the employees of your own organisation shouldn’t stop with providing the safest possible vehicles, however. Investing in regular occupational health and safety courses can help keep everyone up to speed with the safest work practices.

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