The Tauranga Fire Brigade has a flash tent – but they are not going camping.
The decontamination tent is part of the fire fighters’ collection of hazardous materials equipment – replacing equipment past its used by date.
Tauranga fire fighters now have a decontamination tent.
Senior station officer Phil Price says while they had the tent prior to the 2011 Rugby World Cup it is now permanently stationed in Tauranga.
The new decontamination unit is designed to wash down groups of people exposed to hazardous materials quickly and efficiently. It is also used when police raid secret methamphetamine labs.
There are 17 decontamination tents stationed around New Zealand, which are deployed with the Hazardous Materials Command Unit (HazMat), as part of the permanent containment and decontamination equipment supplied to select stations.
“What’s new for us is that we’ve just made the transition from the old HazMat unit to the new one,” says Phil.
“The old one has been decommissioned. They are all standard throughout the country; they are all the same.”
The unit consists of four independent internal chambers. A contaminated person starts at one end of the tent and progressively works their way through.
The four different stages include decontamination, undressing and discarding clothing, a hygiene wash and dry and a redress in a disposable set of overalls and slippers.
Once people are decontaminated they are taken away for a medical report.
“This is quite a step forward, says Phil. “We used to use cold water.”
A diesel pump keeps water warm and can pump up to 50 litres of water per minute through to two rows of four shower heads.
The whole unit is worth more than $800,000. This includes communications such as satellite dishes, phones, radios and other emergency equipment.
The tent takes approximately 20 minutes to set up. The industrial strength PVC frame is blown up and needs to be completely washed and dried after every use.