On Monday, 20th October 1997, at approximately 1200 hours, No. 20 stn Hurstville, “C” Platoon was involved in a demonstration at Kingsgrove Public School.
The demonstration was being conducted using No. 106 Skyjet. During the demonstration the boom was fully extended and rotated to the left side of the appliance and was in the process of being elevated. At this time a hydraulic failure occurred, spraying the appliance and operator with oil and the boom collapsed to the ground. Fortunately, the firefighter at the head of the boom and the children observing the demonstration were not injured.
It has been suggested that damage was sustained to the hydraulic hoses and valve body at some previous time and was not reported. It is believed that this previous incident and damage sustained then has contributed to the failure of No. 106 Skyjet’s hydraulic boom.
Due to this incident, a accident inquiry (with Union representation) has been instigated which will be chaired by Regional Commander N. Newson. Members are instructed that until the outcome of the inquiry is available, or a assurance that the safety of the firefighters, operators and members of the public whilst operating Skyjet and Telesquirt monitors is received by the Union, the following restrictions will apply:
1. All operators are to be made aware that the possibility exists for the collapse of the boom due to the lack of check valves in the event that hose failure occurs.
2. The boom is not to be operated over and above any staff or members of the general public.
3. The boom shall only be utilised as a water tower or in the event of rescues with the head fully supported.
4. No operator shall be placed on the boom during operations.