Specialist firefighters for Northern Sydney

Issued: 17 October 2016

The NSW Government has boosted the state's ability to respond to hazardous materials incidents with the rollout of more specialist firefighters in Sydney's north, the fourth HAZMAT fire station for the Sydney region.

Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott and Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) Commissioner Greg Mullins today announced Forestville Fire Station firefighters will lead the hazardous materials response for the northern region.

After 12 weeks of intensive training in dealing with gas leaks and chemical spills, 28 firefighters at Forestville Fire Station have been HAZMAT accredited.

Firefighters attend more than 15,000 HAZMAT incidents across NSW each year. In northern Sydney, there were more than 1,600 incidents in the past financial year.

"This is part of a record $693 million budget for Fire & Rescue NSW in 2016-17 and is in addition to other initiatives such as drone technology for large fires and TAF 20 (Turbine Aided Firefighting) - the remote controlled firefighting robot," Mr Elliott said.

Forestville Fire Station is also equipped with a HAZMAT fire truck that carries special equipment such as gas detectors, absorbent booms, HAZMAT suits and protective clothing as well as bins for disposing of hazardous materials.

Commissioner Mullins said hazardous materials crews deal with explosives, compressed gases, flammable liquids and gases, poisons, corrosive substances, radioactive materials, drugs and infectious materials.

"This accreditation expands FRNSW's HAZMAT capability across the greater Sydney area," Commissioner Mullin said. "Previously, the nearest HAZMAT stations were at Chester Hill and Alexandria. Now the north side of Sydney has this much-needed resource."

Mr Hazzard said this was a major investment by the NSW Government to ensure the safety of the people and environment of NSW.

"I'm always amazed by the skill and courage of firefighters and this accreditation will ensure that Forestville firefighters can help keep our community safe," he said.