With the worst fire season in history, not just on the east coast but other states as well, farmers and homeowners are suddenly realising that preparation is vital.
One company, Australian Pump Industries, has moved into high gear not just to dramatically increase shipments, but to also pull engines forwards from the world’s biggest engine companies.
“We were able to get Yanmar diesels and Honda petrol engines just in time,” Aussie Pumps chief engineer John Hales said.
As farmers and homeowners rush to equip themselves with firefighting protection equipment, fire pumps and hose kits are in urgent need.
Some of the Aussie Pumps key dealers keep running out of stock, particularly in areas around the periphery of major capital cities and regional centres.
Dealers report an influx of tired and often useless Third World fire pumps being shipped in for repair.
“Why would you waste valuable labour at $60 an hour fixing a $250 pump?,” one Aussie Pump dealer said.
“The best place for those pumps is on eBay or as part of a recycling program.”
Climate change impact
there’s no doubt that the drought has had a severe impact on terrible fire season conditions.
The amount of moisture stress in trees and scrub has led to huge amounts of material that is tinder dry and ready to burn.
The Aussie Pump team has rushed to print thousands of more copies of their Bushfire Survival Guide to help people living in endangered areas.
“We tell people to either equip properly to fight the fire, that means the right equipment and the right preparation, or get ready to leave,” Mr Hales said.
“We don’t encourage people to be brave enough to fight a bushfire in their backyard just because they have a pump set up and a small tank of water.
“The right equipment and adequate water are essential.”
Diesel’s Are Safer
Aussie Pumps are rushing to get more diesel engine drive units into the production program.
“Building diesel drive pumps is now a priority as many home owners have decided to make the investment of a diesel because of the low volatility of the fuel,” Mr Hales said.
The company said diesel is safer, although engines are heavier and more expensive than petrol drives.
“If it’s the matter of saving a few bucks or eliminating a very real risk, it can be an easy decision to make,” Mr Hales said.
“The diesel drive pumps are all fitted with automatic decompression making them easy to start, unlike the old single cylinder clangers of the last century.”
Electric start is also an option, making starting the pump just a matter of turning the key.
“The NPWS mobile units use the Aussie Fire Chief pumps fitted with Yanmar 4.8 hp diesel engines with electric start,” Mr Hales said.
For more information on Aussie Pump’s comprehensive fire pump line up and the free Bushfire Survival Guide, call (02) 8865 3500 or visit: