SA fire trucks head to Tonga's front line

SA fire trucks head to Tonga’s front line

MFS Image - 2017-05-11 - Trucks for Tonga - DSC_0371 web

Two South Australian fire trucks have arrived for duty at Tonga Fire and Emergency Services (TFES), thanks to a 14 year alliance with the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS).

They’re the 21st and 22nd fire trucks that the MFS has arranged to donate to the Pacific Island nation of Tonga’s fire service since 2004.

The latest trucks are MFS and Country Fire Service (CFS) water carriers that are more than 25 years old and have been painstakingly restored.

The donation was made possible due to a long-term partnership between the MFS and TFES that began more than a decade ago.

A long term partnership forged after 2003 visit to TongaMFS Image - Tonga TFES - Masalu - web

MFS firefighters first visited the Kingdom of Tonga in 2003 and were concerned by the realities at the time.

Tongan firefighters would respond to emergencies without helmets, gloves, boots or breathing apparatus, while only four deteriorating firefighting jackets were available between 50 personnel.

In 2004, a supportive partnership was formed between the MFS and TFES with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

The alliance has led to the exchange of personnel, information, educational materials, training and equipment over many years and TFES has become greatly respected within the community.

The latest restored fire trucks to be donated are former MFS and CFS appliances that had reached the end of their service life in SA and arrived in Tonga in June.

TFES-MFS alliance remains strong

Both the TFES and MFS are pleased that their alliance remains strong today, so many years after it first began.

2017 Crop Tonga Fire TrucksTongan firefighters now have a greatly improved situation in terms of personal protective equipment, replacement fire appliances, community education materials and training.

Every TFES firefighter who goes on shift now has a protective helmet, set of gloves, pair of boots and fire rated jackets and pants, meaning a great improvement in firefighter safety.

This latest donation of two restored fire appliances has further enhanced emergency response and improved community safety.

MFS Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Glenn Benham said the latest fire appliances to head to Tonga are water carriers.

“These MFS and CFS water tankers have been gratefully received by the TFES. The trucks provide Tongan firefighters with greater capacity to transport water to emergency incidents and attack fires rapidly on arrival, leading to a reduction in fire damage and economic loss.

“Shipping costs for their journey to Tonga have been kindly covered by the Tongan government,” he said.