Industry Insights

Putting Out Fires With GAAM And Isuzu Power Solutions

Our first responders are some of the bravest people in the world, saving the day in the face of danger, whether it be our police force, paramedics or the fire brigade.

In Australia, there are approximately 200,000 volunteer firefighters standing in the frontline against fires—which range from city fires to raging bushfires. Between 1901 and 2011 the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) recorded more than 260 bushfires, and there have been many more since.

Australia’s harsh weather and the high frequency of bushfires especially during the hot and dry months means that as well as needing the right personnel for the job, our first responders need the equipment to match.

And if there’s a business that knows this, it’s GAAM Australia.

A major fire pump manufacturer in Australia, GAAM’s specialisation lies in designing and manufacturing pumps for urban and rural fire suppression using Isuzu Power Solution engines.

GAAM has been supplying Australian fire and emergency services with fire pumps and other firefighting accessories for the past 85 years, providing a wide range of products, including diesel-powered firefighting pump sets and ancillary systems. GAAM prides itself on having all their pumps Aussie designed and supported by engines from Isuzu Power Solutions; these pumps are specifically designed for each fire brigade or fire authority.

GAAM’s Business Manager Ian Price said, “All the different brigades and fire authorities come up with different requirements, depending on their surrounding environment, so we design the pumps accordingly.

“We supply 80–90 per cent of the fire brigades in Australia, which means that for us to do our bit in the fight against fire, all my staff are available and on call 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Ian recounted his experience in 2001 during the Black Christmas fires in New South Wales (NSW), demonstrating what he meant by being “on call”.

Ian shared, “Back in 2001, my phone rang on Christmas morning; it was raining in Melbourne, but NSW had high temperatures and they need some equipment in a hurry.

“I got to the factory by 9 am, got everything prepared and off I went to the airport as no freight companies work on Christmas day.

“Because of airport security issues, I had to talk to the captain of Qantas about the equipment I was trying to get to NSW.

“The captain listened and understood how important the situation was, so he put all the equipment in his own cabin and took it with him.

“When we landed in Sydney, the police were already waiting on the runway and they picked the equipment up and escorted it to Wollongong, where the fires were.

“The same urgency was there on Black Saturday; conditions were worsening and I packed up and went straight to the warehouse. Sure enough the phones started ringing, the whole team came in and we got the gear out as needed,” Ian said.

And supporting GAAM’s work is Isuzu Power Solutions.

Ian supplies his customers with fire pumps fitted with Isuzu diesel engines—specifically, the 4LE 2PW, 2CA and 3CA models. After their need for a large radiator cooled engine wasn’t met by the rest of the market, GAAM began receiving Isuzu diesel engines in 2006 straight from the Isuzu Power Solutions department.

Ian explained, “the Isuzu diesel engines were fitted lock-and-key to these models of GAAM pumps”, creating a close coupling of the two products that resulted in a sought-after, tried and tested pump protoype.

The Country Fire Authority (CFA) in Victoria ordered it and were so pleased with the pump, securing a four-year contract with GAAM.

Ian shared, “The Isuzu Power Solutions department is fantastic—they’re so helpful with everything I ask for and respond immediately.

“They send their best people out whenever we need them; their response is pretty much immediate and the problem will be sorted in 24 hours… and better yet, if one of my customers is having an issue, Isuzu will go out directly to them and sort it out.”

With the reliability of GAAM’s Isuzu engine-fitted pumps, GAAM has in 2019 landed another four-year contract with CFA.

GAAM’s pumps, fitted with Isuzu’s 4LE 2PW, 2CA and 3CA diesel engines, will be on display at the GAAM stand at this year’s AFAC19 exhibition.