Ray Hadley talks about the use of Call Centres for Fundraising

You may recall the VFFA publishing a series of posts titled Was the attack on the fundraising activities of the RFSA justified?
Good News from Ray Hadley…. The ACCC is announcing, Charities risk stiff fines if they outsource their fundraising to companies that hound potential donors.
Charities have become big business. Mr Hadley suggests that you donate directly to your local brigade.

Rural Fire Service faces accusations of bullying and nepotism

Rural Fire Service faces accusations of bullying and nepotism

With the state already facing “extreme” bushfire risks with hot and dry weather, a parliamentary inquiry has heard of allegations of bullying and nepotism within the Rural Fire Service. The hearing was told by vice-president of the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association that the community could no longer be protected.

At the public Emergency Services Agency hearing, chaired by Shooters and Fishers’ Robert Borsak, RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons was quizzed by Greens member David Shoebridge after it was revealed 48 per cent of RFS members had witnessed bullying while 18 per cent had been victims of bullying and that “only two people have been dismissed because of it”.

Inquiry hears of bullying, nepotism in RFS

Inquiry hears of bullying, nepotism in RFS

THE Rural Fire Service (RFS) has lost touch with its regional roots, and volunteers who have spoken against the bureaucracy have faced bullying and harassment, including election interference at a brigade level, a parliamentary inquiry into the emergency services has been told.

Some parallels with WA

There are many common problems that volunteer firefighters face in an Australia wide context.

One issue that has been raised by the VFFA is the need for the NSW State Government to look at the rural culture that has been eroded by city-centric RURAL Fire Service management.

This media content is being shared to highlight the parallels that exist with our WA counterparts.

“Whilst you’ve got a city-centric department running a state-wide business you’re always going to have this conflict”

Fire-fighting helicopter pilot speaks out against Martin Mars Water Bomber

Fire-fighting helicopter pilot speaks out against Martin Mars Water Bomber

“Water doesn’t put out a fire, the crews do,” the anonymous pilot wrote. “Large aircraft such as what you have read about in this article take crews off the fire lines, sit helicopters on the ground for hours and stop precious production and critical gains,” the pilot wrote. “[The Bomber’s] water comes out at a force which sends embers out and start spot fires.”

“[The water bombing method] loosens ground, blows over trees creating hazards and ruins guards put in by crews.”

NSW Rural Fire Service announces $9 million Centre for Excellence

NSW Rural Fire Service announces $9 million Centre for Excellence

The announcement to build a Centre of Excellence in Dubbo is a victory for the people of Dubbo, the VFFA, all volunteers, regional and rural people of NSW.

This news is certainly a step in the right direction as it will pave the way for increased regional and rural influence in the RFS Learning and Development Directorate.

The VFFA congratulates MP Troy Grant, Dubbo Regional Council, NSW RFS Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons and NSW RFS Deputy Commissioner Rob Rogers for this commitment but does it goes far enough? The VFFA believes that a much larger chunk of the NSW Rural Fire Service, if not all, needs to be decentralised.

Troy Grant welcomes Sir Ivan bush fire inquiry

Troy Grant welcomes Sir Ivan bush fire inquiry

A coronial inquiry into the Sir Ivan bushfire would be a welcome opportunity to distinguish the facts from the opinions, State Member for Dubbo Troy Grant said.

The NSW Farmers Association passed a motion at their annual conference in Sydney this week to push for a Coronial Inquiry into the fire. The fire, which was caused by a lightning strike, destroyed 35 homes in Uarbry and the surrounding areas. It destroyed more than 55,000 hectares, according to NSW Rural Fire Service, as well as 5700 kilometres of fencing. The blaze burned for about a month. It killed 2000 sheep, 56 cattle, 90 goats and 36 poultry.

“We welcome any opportunity for any inquiry to examine any of these incidents which devastate communities so lessons can be learnt,” Mr Grant said.

Nowra men’s group learn about cultural burns

Moves are being made in the Shoalhaven to revive the ancient art of firestick teams and cultural burns.
Eight members of the Djuwin Mudjingaalbaraga Men’s Group have undertaken fireground training with the Rural Fire Service in preparation of forming a local firestick team.
Through his job, National Parks and Wildlife Services ranger Noel Webster, one of the facilitators of the program, has attended a number of workshops around the country and came up with the idea that could be adopted at a local level.
“We have developed a partnership with the Djuwin men’s group, Grand Pacific Health, RFS and NPWS to facilitate the program,” Mr Webster said.

How do we stop volunteer emergency service workers quitting?

How do we stop volunteer emergency service workers quitting?

When the question “How do we stop volunteer emergency service workers quitting?” is asked, many volunteers will respond with “listen more and dictate less”

The NSW RFS Annual Report for 2014 / 2015 stated that there was a total of 74,516 volunteers.

The NSW RFS Annual Report for 2015 / 2016 (one year later) stated that there was a total of 73,162 volunteers.

This is a reduction of 1354 volunteers.

Although this decline was recorded in the NSW RFS Annual Reports, the VFFA believes that the total number of actively engaged NSW RFS Volunteers is grossly overstated.

Volunteer firefighters in many rural areas of NSW are distancing themselves from the bureaucracy and many farmers are choosing to “do their own thing” as we see an increase in “freelance firefighting” in rural areas.