During the summer fire season, Australia’s firefighting bodies operate in some of the most dangerous and unforgiving conditions anywhere in the world.
The teams of firefighters, both career and volunteers, may be among the most knowledgeable and best trained, and with the right equipment they work hard to achieve the best possible outcomes for their communities.
Included in vehicle fleets around the country are a selection of tough yet compact 4x4 trucks designed to conquer the roughest tracks and access locations full-sized vehicles just can’t get to.
When Belgrave South CFA located in outer eastern Melbourne was looking for a vehicle fitting this criteria to undertake fire line work, long-term brigade volunteer Aaron Carlton chose the Iveco Daily to do the job.
As well as having served the community with 30 years’ service with CFA – several of which were as brigade captain – in Aaron’s “day job” he has owned and operated a 4x4 mechanical service and modification workshop for more than 20 years. This combination of experience places him in an ideal position when it comes to vehicle selection.
“The Daily’s driveline required no modification, we made some adjustments to the shock absorbers to better handle the high centre of gravity load, but that’s about it,” Aaron said
“The vehicle’s compact dimensions means it’s suitable for fire line work, particularly over the rough and narrow tracks we often have to cover.”
Belgrave South CFA’s Daily 4x4 is fitted with a customised SEM fire and rescue body that includes a 700-litre tanker coupled to a PTO-driven pump capable of moving 850 litres per minute. Other features of the body include ample storage areas for equipment such as chainsaws and other hand tools.
The Daily 4x4 is purpose-built for off road work and boasts GVM of up to 5.5 tonnes, towing capacity of up to 3.5 tonnes and front, centre and rear differential locks as standard, allowing the truck to crawl over just about any obstacle imaginable.
Available in single cab or dual cab variants (provides seating for the driver and crew of five), the Daily 4x4 is powered by a three-litre turbo diesel engine producing 125kW of power and a hefty 400 Nm of torque available from low rpm.
A manual transmission has long been the transmission of choice for serious off-roaders largely due to the additional control provided, particularly on steep descents. The Daily 4x4 is equipped with a six-speed synchromesh overdrive manual that offers slick and secure gear changes and gives the operator the ultimate level of vehicle control.
Unlike some other off-road trucks that required manual engagement of the front hubs to activate 4WD, the Daily 4x4 is a fulltime four-wheel-drive, so there’s no need to stop the vehicle and get out of the cabin when track conditions deteriorate.
The Daily’s serious off-road credentials are highlighted by the availability of front, centre and rear differential locks straight from the factory, ensuring all four wheels rotate in unison and provide high levels in traction no matter what the conditions. The diff locks can be quickly engaged by pushing dash-mounted switches.
An additional benefit of the Daily 4x4 is the availability of up to four power take-offs to drive external equipment via hydraulic pumps and cardan shafts.
Despite having only been in service for four months, Aaron said that the Daily proved itself on its first outing.
“On its inaugural call-out we had to get to a difficult-to-access location, it was very steep and when we arrived we had to pump water through six lengths of hose,” he said.
As well as for directly fighting fires, Aaron said that the Daily is used for other important tasks.
“We also use the Daily as a people-mover on training nights and for change-over crew movements. It’s crucial that we have vehicles on our fleet that are versatile as well,” he said.
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