Communities across NSW are set to benefit from a state-of-the-art firefighting helicopter, donated by the Goodman Foundation in a first of its kind partnership with the NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS).
This comes as part of the Goodman Foundation’s $6.5 million pledge earlier this year to support Australian communities following the bush fires.
While government will always have a role in providing this kind of equipment, partnerships of this kind will help secure additional resources to help protect communities during fire seasons.
Work will now begin to procure and reconfigure a new helicopter to meet the specific requirements of the NSW RFS, in time to be ready for duty during this year’s fire season. It will be equipped with winch, belly tank and surveillance camera for use in firefighting operations, search and rescue, and down the wire insertions and extractions.
Greg Goodman, Group CEO at Goodman Group, said: “During the devastating and unprecedented bush fires earlier in the year, we felt strongly about supporting the NSW Rural Fire Service with something that will make tangible and sustainable impact to its work and the communities it serves.”
NSW RFS Commissioner Rob Rogers welcomed the addition to the fleet: “The last bush fire season was an extreme event that saw our NSW RFS volunteer crews go to extraordinary lengths to protect lives and as many homes as possible.
“We cannot be complacent coming into this season thinking that we won’t see fire activity again. Bush and grass fires can strike at any time and it is vitally important to be prepared.
“So it’s fantastic to have the support of the Goodman Foundation through this first of its kind partnership approach. The state-of-the art fire-fighting helicopter will be a valuable additional resource for us to protect people in the communities we serve. We know helicopters can play a key role in delivering early, impactful action on a developing fire.”
Six Local Government Areas (LGAs) have already entered the Bush Fire Danger Period (BFDP) since 1 August 2020 due to prevailing local conditions – Armidale Regional, Walcha, Uralla, Glen Innes Severn, Inverell and Tenterfield. While an early fire season is not unusual in these areas, increased grass growth due to recent rain could prove problematic over coming weeks and months.
Commissioner Rogers added: “Grass fires can be especially dangerous because they start quickly and spread rapidly, destroying not only homes and stock, but also lives and livelihoods.
“Simple things like cleaning your gutters, removing combustibles from your yard, ensuring hoses can reach all corners of your property and completing or updating your bush fire survival plan, so you and your family know what you will do in the event of a bush fire.
“I encourage households to make sure the whole family knows what to do when faced with a fire. It could save your lives. Ask yourself, when you will go, what you will take and where will you go.”