Melbourne Airport Firefighters Take Delivery Of Australian First Escape Stair Fire Truck
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In a case of what could possibly be one of the most unique fire appliances in the country, Air Services Australia ARFF crews in Melbourne recently took delivery of a brand new specialist escape stair fire truck.
The new appliance is literally a set of stairs on wheels designed specifically to get passengers off and firefighters on a plane quickly during an emergency. It’s arguably one of the most unique trucks going round (and arguably one of the best training aids for aspiring stair climbing ARFF fireys 😉 ) but it’s also surprisingly packed with features. Here’s the low down on the ARFF Escape Stair Fire truck.
The ARFF Rosenbauer E8000/E3000 escape stair fire truck
Based on a Man TGS 6×6 wheel chassis, the 26-tonne stair truck is built by Rosenbauer, the same company behind many of the most recognisable aviation firefighting vehicles around, including the panther. The appliance is based on the Rosenbauer E8000/E3000 escape stairs and while it is a first in Australia, they have been in service for a while in other parts of the world.
Officially launched into service by Airservices Australia in October 2019, the escape stair truck, or ‘rescue stairs’, is currently being trialled in Melbourne, with a view to roll out others to airports across the country should the trial be successful.
The idea behind the new truck is that it can be rapidly deployed in an emergency and quickly provide a means of evacuating passengers or provide fast access to firefighters for rapid intervention.
The vehicle can be operated by a single firefighter who is able to control the stairs from inside the cab or on the landing up top. In an emergency, the stairs can be deployed and set up in under 1 minute.
The stairs can be guided into place manually, with the aid of several cameras, including FLIR, or by selecting a preset height from a terminal in the cab which automatically deploys the stairs to the correct height based on the model of aircraft and door location. With a maximum height of 8.5m, the stairs are capable of reaching the highest door on the top deck of an A380.
But stairs aren’t the only feature of this truck. With a 1380 litre onboard water tank, 200-litre foam tank and PTO pump, the rescue stair truck is able to operate as an independent fire truck. The landing or ‘basket’ at the top of the stairs has a built-in 60m high-pressure reel for rapid intervention, plus a range of fitting for attaching an extra hose. There’s even a PPV fan stowed on the landing.
Thanks for the photos, Steve!
Firefighting’s my passion and I’ve been doing it for over 16 years now since I left school. I also get a kick out of helping other fireys by sharing what I’ve learnt, and what I learn from others, by creating great content.