2018 National Indigenous Fire Workshop – NSW South Coast

2018 National Indigenous Fire Workshop – NSW South Coast

This year the workshop will be hosted by the local indigenous Mudjingaalbaraga Firesticks team and the Bundanon Trust. This is the 10th workshop and is the first time for the event to leave its birth place of Cape York and travel to honour other communities within the indigenous fire networks. Each year the firesticks network will deliver the workshop to a different state and location to share this privileged event. The aim is to maximise the traditional learning of aboriginal fire knowledge in all the different countries, and the challenges faced in strengthening healthy people and country through fire.

Forest Mismanagement has brought Unprecedented Environmental Catastrophe to California

Forest Mismanagement has brought Unprecedented Environmental Catastrophe to California

A California independent oversight committee is recommending that the state revamp its forest management strategies in order to prevent massive fires like those that plagued the state in 2017.
The Little Hoover Commission (LHC) released a report Monday that found a more proactive approach to forest management, like using practices such as thinning and controlled burns, could lessen the impact of wildfires on the environment and the budget.

Demolition moves RFS training centre closer to construction

This news article appeared in the Daily Liberal on February 2nd 2018. It is clear that the Lets put the RURAL back into the Rural Fire Service campaign is beginning to bear fruit.
Congratulations to Mayor, Ben Shields for his support.
Progress is being made on the construction of a Rural Fire Service training facility.
Dubbo Regional Council has awarded a tender for the demolition of buildings at Dubbo City Regional Airport where the training facility will be constructed.
The centre will provide specialist training in areas such as incident management, road crash rescue and fire investigation, as well as member induction training.
With a 30-year lease agreement in place, it is fair to say that the flow-on effects will be felt in the local economy well into the future, says Mayor Ben Shields.

Our Summer Magazine is Available as a Download

Our Summer Magazine is Available as a Download

If anyone wants to save an electronic copy (pdf format) of any of our published magazines go to http://volunteerfirefighters.org.au/vffa-magazines or navigate using the main menu to “Magazines”.

If you did not get the glossy printed edition sent to your mailbox, then you may need to update your mailing details or sign up for a free membership.

Magazines can also be viewed online at: https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/view/59795888/vffa-2017-v9-2-summer

Cracked Wheels

Cracked Wheels

1. The wheel in the photo was fitted to a NSW RFS Cat 9 response vehicle.
2. The NSW RFS has not issued a safety notice or safety alert about this issue.
3. There has not been any recalls of these wheels.
4. There does not seem to be any Safety Alerts issued in 2017 (no Safety Alerts about any topic).
5. We have been informed that the Hawkesbury District has replaced five wheels.
6. Apparently, these wheels were specified to reduce vehicle weight.
7. It has been reported that at least two different vehicles have had cracked wheels.

We are not suggesting that the NSW RFS has failed to properly respond to this issue but we would like to know if this issue has occurred more frequently than reported.

NSW RFS Volunteers at Risk of Prosecution without Support or Assistance

NSW RFS Volunteers at Risk of Prosecution without Support or Assistance

On Wednesday 6th December 2017, a day after International Volunteer Day, a Sydney based Volunteer Firefighter was convicted of dangerous driving in a Local Court case that was heard over three days. The Volunteer was charged by the NSW Police some months after the Police attended a Hazard Reduction Burn.

The Police attended following a phone call from a paid staff member of the NSW Rural Fire Service (the RFS) reporting an alleged incident. The volunteer was on route to the fire station to assist with a pre-planned hazard reduction burn. The matter was reported to the Police without the RFS taking any steps to investigate the allegations internally, or to even hear the Volunteer’s account of the event.

Legal costs to protect the good name of this Volunteer are now in the tens’ of thousands of dollars and the Volunteer Firefighter was sentenced and ordered to pay a $750 fine and had his license suspended for a 12-month period The legal proceedings have been underway for approximately 14 months, they have taken an incredible toll on the volunteer, his family and brigade.

The Volunteer has not received any support or communication from the NSW RFS.

What it takes to be a fire behaviour expert with the Rural Fire Service

What it takes to be a fire behaviour expert with the Rural Fire Service

The VFFA is sharing this ABC News article because we support the comments made by Dr. Simon Heemstra including:

Mapping by hand most reliable
There is no technology that can replace frontline experience
It would be great to see a relocation of these resources to a locality west of the “sandstone curtain”.

Lets not forget all of the volunteers across the state with a wealth of local knowledge to offer. 

Conflict of interest and natural justice in an RFS Disciplinary hearing

Today’s question relates to the application of natural justice and conflicts of interests in NSW RFS disciplinary matters. My correspondent asks:

Can an appointed investigator of alleged allegations against a RFS volunteer be then placed as the Chairperson of the Zone Discipline Panel to make decisions on the same allegations?

The critical issue here is ‘natural justice’. One of the key elements of natural justice is that the decision maker must not have a stake in the matter and must hear from both sides and decide the issue before them without prior judgment.

Appropriate Duty of Care or Over-Complication?

Appropriate Duty of Care or Over-Complication?

A volunteer sent us an email and a document that was circulated from a Fire Control Centre recently. We have decided to share this information in a quest to discover if this Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma documentation is widespread and are there other injury specific forms in use.

The Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma is dated August 2016 and the document control states that it is version 1.3.

The questions being asked on the form are:

1. Was insect repellent containing Picaridin (e.g. Johnson ‘OFF!’ repellent) available to the injured member on the day of injury? If yes, did the injured member apply the repellent before commencing work and reapply as necessary during work?
2. On the day of injury did the Supervisor remind the injured member that repellent MUST be applied prior to work, then reapplied at regular intervals (particularly when sweating)?
3. When the tick was found was the removal undertaken by a competent first aider and can you confirm that the whole tick was removed (i.e. No head left behind)? If more than one tick, specify number of ticks.
4. What part(s) of the body were bitten by the tick(s)?
5. Has the injured member had any medical complications from the tick bite(s)?

What is the volunteer perception of this form?