Firefighting Toolbox

Firefighting Toolbox

There is a lot of equipment involved in fighting fires. You can begin to familiarise yourself with everything here. Test your memory and see how much you can remember!


The Category 1 Tankers are the flagship appliances of the NSW RFS. Able to respond to a variety of different incidents from bush & grass fires to motor vehicle accidents and structure fires. Equipped to carry 3500 litres of water and foam, as well as a formidable array of specialised equipment. The Category 1 Tankers are a vital part of the NSW RFS firefighting fleet.

Deputy Captain Sally gives you a behind the scenes tour of Arcadia 1B.

Read more about vehicles and equipment used by FRNSW.


Helicopters are essential for fighting remote fires in NSW national parks.

Great skill and teamwork allow NPWS rangers and firefighters to access bushfires. These highly skilled people are dropped in to emergency situations with all the gear needed. They need to be safe on the ground for up to 24 hours without retrieval.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

As well as the obvious dangers of heat, firefighters are exposed to toxic fumes, sharp objects, uneven ground, slippery surfaces, biological fluids, spilt chemicals and electricity.

Firefighting uniforms need to provide the best protection possible against injury, poisoning, chemical exposure, burns and toxicity.

Firefighting ensembles are known as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and include:

  • firefighter’s tunic

  • flash hoods

  • boots

  • helmet

  • gloves

  • breathing apparatus

  • high visibility safety vests

Breathing apparatus

Breathing apparatus (BA) is needed by firefighters when carrying out interior offensive structural firefighting or in other areas where they may be exposed to high temperatures, oxygen deficiency, toxic substances, smoke concentration, dust, heat radiation or burning embers. Breathing apparatus is worn for the respiratory safety of firefighters. They supply the wearer with air from a cylinder.


Knapsack, rakehoe and axe

Delivery hose, collecting breech, and fog nozzle

Standpipe, rope and ladder

Portable fireground radio, Fire blanket, and Extinguisher

Radios used in the NSW RFS


When to use a knapsack

On the fireground you can use a knapsack to:

  • Make a direct attack on a low intensity flank fire

  • Support a hand tool crew who are constructing a control line close to the fire edge

  • Assist in mopping up operations

How to use a knapsack

The hand piece has a nozzle that can be adjusted to give: 

  • A straight jet for long distance work, or 

  • A fantail spray for close work. The fantail method uses water more economically and effectively when a firefighter is working close to a fire 

Drip torches


Clove hitch


Figure eight

Sheet bend

Reef knot