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Helping the NSW Rural Fire Service
We are always looking at ways we can play a role to help better protect communities impacted by bushfires. For the past 18 months we have been working with the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) to deploy a helicopter to help bushfire fighting efforts.
In January, our NRMA Insurance helicopter was used to spray a fire retardant directly onto homes and buildings in the line of fire, saving three homes on the NSW South Coast that were considered undefendable given how severe the conditions were on the day.
This is the first time the fire retardant, called Fire Limit, has been used in Australia. It’s biodegradable and non-toxic and is sprayed directly onto the outside walls of properties, which are then protected by the retardant for up to two weeks.
This is part of a trial by the RFS looking at whether helicopters, which are more precise than planes, can be used to help the RFS better protect communities for the remainder of the bushfire season.
Our head of claims, Luke Gallagher, said: “We’ve experienced some of the worst bushfires and most challenging conditions we’ve ever seen. The NRMA Insurance helicopter is providing the RFS with another aerial asset to help protect our communities.
“We’re already seeing good outcomes from the helicopter trial, which is looking at how new fire-retardant technology can help protect homes and properties in the path of a bushfire,” Mr Gallagher said.
Our helicopter is helping the RFS by providing another line of defence to protect people and communities. Chief Superintendent Ben Millington, who manages state operations and aviation for the RFS said: “We are always looking at new technology and new ways to combat fire.
“The NRMA helicopter has the potential to help the RFS provide timely and precise protection of homes, structures and important community infrastructure,” Chief Superintendent Millington said.
Important things to know about the NRMA Insurance helicopter:
- All operational decisions are made by the RFS, including when and where it will be deployed and how the fire retardant will be used to ensure it helps communities most in need of protection.
- FireLimit is a non-toxic, biodegradable fire retardant.
- We have four pilots rostered to fly the helicopter when needed. You can read more about one of our helicopter pilots on the NRMA Hub.
To find out more about how IAG is helping customers affected by the current bushfires visit IAG's bushfire response hub.
NRMA Insurance helicopter in action
The video (below) shows the NRMA Insurance helicopter spraying Fire Limit fire retardant on homes on the New South Wales South Coast over the weekend of 4 - 5 January 2020. The second half of the video shows that the bushland around the home has been burnt, but the home is safe.