Tasmania Fire Service hosts training at Bell Bay

Tasmanian firefighters are testing their skills this week as they undergo simulated training in the state’s north. 

Career and volunteer officers are taking part in the statewide program, which is being held at Bell Bay.

On Tuesday, officers could be seen tackling blazes inside a shipping container, testing their structural firefighting abilities. 

Project coordinator and station officer Rick Mahnken said firefighting had “changed considerably over the past 50 years” and the training would bring crews “up to speed with contemporary practice”.

“Buildings are constructed differently and the average home contains modern furnishings, which burn hotter and faster and we need to be prepared,” he said.

“This training brings firefighters back to the roots of their training, refreshing their awareness of the dangers around them, using their instincts and knowledge, rather than relying on what they may or may not be physically experiencing.

“What we are doing is unpacking the science of what we have always done and marrying that with new techniques and best practice.”

The program utilises custom built training props, which simulate conditions regularly faced by firefighters. 

The Urban Fire Suppression program is being held at the Australian Maritime College and by the end of the week 100 firefighters will have taken part.  

“The training has provided a unique opportunity to partner with the Australian Maritime College, bringing skills and resources from two organisations to achieve a common goal,” Mr Mahnken said.

The training comes on the cusp of bushfire season, with local crews kept busy this week tackling blazes.

On Tuesday afternoon, a bushfire at St Helens saw Argonaut Road closed as smoke reduced visibility in the area. 

While there was “no immediate threat” to the community, Tasmania Fire Service said “fires under these conditions can be difficult to control”.

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The blaze remained at advice level at 6.30pm, with residents asked to avoid the Argonaut Road area.

In Launceston, crews were called to a vegetation fire, which saw a blanket of smoke cover the city.

Tasmania Fire Service was inundated with triple-zero calls about 3.30pm, but the fire was contained shortly after.