A CFA member who advises on the health and safety of the region’s firefighters has warned that continuous wire rope barriers could put personnel in grave danger.
Justin Tilson has been in the health and safety role for six years, and although he endorses the use of the wire barriers, he says the rollout must involve a well thought-out approach.
Some 300 vehicles collided with wire barriers installed in 2017, but Mr Tilson warns that continuous streams of wire without a break could endanger emergency personnel in bushfire scenarios and reduce safety for members during roadside response.
More than 700km of wire barriers have been installed along the Hume between Melbourne and Wodonga alone, costing $89 million of the $340 million dedicated by the State Government to infrastructure improvements on high risk rural roads.
“We want the wire barriers there because usually it means the difference between responding to a fatality or just an injury with a motor vehicle accident,” Mr Tilson said.
“This is about the parameters as to where they’re installed and the minimum safe distances for not just emergency responders, but even the people who break down on the side of the road.”