Reality TV star’s donation gives tablets to rural fireys
THE Kardashians may be famous for setting the internet on fire, now they are equipping Queensland's rural fireys in the wake of a devastating bushfire season.
Reality television star and model Kylie Jenner has donated $200,000 to roll out bushfire mapping tablets to every Rural Fire Service brigade with a yellow truck.
The donation was part of a $1.25 million project between the Rural Fire Brigade Association Queensland and the RFS would roll out more than 800 tablets across the state.
RFBAQ general manager Justin Choveaux said the mission to deploy the mapping technology tablets began at a much smaller scale in October.
"Everything is constrained by money," Mr Choveaux said.
"Then the fire season came along and everything went in overdrive."
Donations from across the country, and the world, were unlocked to the volunteer brigades.
In January, Ms Jenner announced her US$200,000 donation to the RFBAQ.
Ms Jenner was not the only one to open her wallet, Mr Choveaux said, with donations coming from South32, the Australian Firefighters Calendar, Drakes Supermarkets and Palm Lake Resort Toowoomba.
Mr Choveaux said he was not sure how many fireys would know the 23-year-old cosmetics queen and reality television persona.
"You would have to ask them," he joked.
"Every cent these people gave us, every dollar went to an outcome."
While they may not know her name, Mr Choveaux said every brigade with a yellow truck would benefit.
He said each device costs more than $1200, with upgrades needed to make them ready for the rough conditions at the fire line.
The tablets would allow live mapping, including showing where trucks and planes were, tracking the fire and showing the typography of the land.
The devices could also log incidents, keep track of volunteers, link with State Emergency Service and conduct rapid damage assessments in the wake of natural disasters.
"It's something we've never been able to do," Mr Choveaux said.
"This will mean we can protect out people better in the future."
A staged roll out would give each of Queensland's 18 area offices a few tablets every week, which would then be handed out to each brigade with training on how to use them.
Mr Choveaux said every Brigade with a yellow truck would be offered a free tablet with all the data supplied by the fire service.
Brigades with more than one yellow truck could also fundraise for extra tablets, with RFS signing up to cover all data charges, Mr Choveaux said.