A Coronial Inquiry into the Sir Ivan fire near Dunedoo is investigating its cause and how it was handled. Faith in the management of fire services has been shaken, and reports suggest volunteer numbers are dropping.
Like many farmers I have been fighting bushfires for over 40 years doing no more than any farmer in helping neighbours.
But in that time I have watched the Rural Fire Service (RFS) develop into a mega bureaucracy that is probably justified in the hinterland of cities and towns but appears overly bureaucratic and expensive around broadacre farms.
The slow down to 40km/h when passing stationary emergency vehicles with flashing blue or red lights will change on 26th Sept 2019.
On higher speed roads (with a speed limit of 90km/h or more), motorists will be required to slow down safely to a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances. Motorists must also provide sufficient space between their vehicle and the stationary tow truck, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicle displaying flashing lights. This will include changing lanes on a multi-lane road if it is safe to do so.
On lower speed roads (with a speed limit of 80km/h or less), motorists will continue to be required to slow to 40km/h when passing stationary tow trucks, breakdown assistance or emergency vehicles displaying flashing lights.
The VFFA supports of any initiative that gives volunteer firefighters a voice. You may have your own views about the lack of advocacy, so it is important that we seize all opportunities to highlight inefficiencies in the support of our volunteers.
Many NSW Volunteer Firefighters took part in last year’s national Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey, they are now invited to once again participate in the 2019 survey.
The title of this post is nothing new, it is also the title from chapter 2 of the report on the inquiry into bushfires that was put together by the House of Representatives, Select Committee into the Australian bushfires in 2003.
Criticisms of land management practices and policies were received from representatives of volunteer fire brigades, individuals and organisations with experience in public and private forestry industries and land holders from bushfire affected areas. These criticisms focused primarily on national parks but included reference to state forests and private property.
The NSW road toll isn’t simply a number. It is people. Sadly, it’s closer to home than you think. It’s people like you. Grandparents, mothers, fathers, children. And it’s a number that’s unacceptable, no matter how small it gets, until it gets to zero.
That should be the aim for all of us – government, law enforcement, business, communities, families and individuals – we should work together to do everything in our power to push the number of deaths on NSW roads towards zero.
The Lucknow brigade of the Rural Fire Service is often first on the scene at crashes on the Mitchell Highway and have been given cuddly helpers for traumatic situations.
Recently the volunteer brigade was given five Gentle Bears to put in their two fire trucks so they can give them to people at car crashes, fires and other traumatic incidents.
The bears were among 50 that were presented to branches of the Canobolas Zone of the RFS and there were 2500 that have been distributed to 46 RFS stations across the state by Insurance and Care NSW, icare, and Gallagher Bassett.