Author: Mick Holton

The 15th World Firefighters Games

The 15th World Firefighters Games will be held in Aalborg, Denmark in 2024.

5,000 firefighters and accompanying families are expected to visit Aalborg from September 7th to 14th 2024 to participate in more than 40 sports.

The World Firefighters Games has been held since 1990 when the first host city was Auckland, New Zealand. The last time the games visited Europe, was in 2008 in Liverpool.

Aalborg’s ambition is to create games where sport, community and unique experiences are in focus.

It would be fantastic see an increased Australian presence at these games.

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Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for RFS Members

On 22 April 2022, the NSW Government lifted Public Health Orders requiring mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for some sectors, instead recommending vaccine requirements be based on risk assessments.

Following this, NSW RFS members were advised that the RFS position requiring all staff and volunteers to be vaccinated remained in place.

NSW RFS members are able to provide feedback on the risk assessment via the feedback form (links in this post) by Friday 10 June 2022.

The VFFA is encouraging as many NSW RFS members as possible to provide feedback to the RFS.

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Coolamon Fire Engine Muster

Cowabbie Street, Coolamon NSW (entry by kind donation).

This fun day is organised by the Coolamon Fire Museum.

Members of the public, fire engine owners and enthusiasts are all welcome to come along.

You won’t want to miss out on seeing fire engines, emergency service and educational displays, the Firefighters Fun Relay, classic cars, bikes, and market stalls.

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COVID Vaccination Mandates

On the topic of COVID vaccination mandates and the requirement for volunteers to disclose their vaccination status, the question that should be asked is:

Would the NSW RFS refuse service delivery to members of the public who are not vaccinated or who choose not to disclose their vaccination status?

The answer is obviously “No”

Therefore, why mandate the requirement for volunteers to disclose their vaccination status or even be vaccinated at all.

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Frustrated volunteer firefighters ditch RFS brigades for independent ‘mozzie’ teams

Cathy Noakes walked away from the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) in 2014, but she never quit firefighting.

After more than a decade of active service, three of them as captain of her brigade in Farringdon, Ms Noakes stepped down in frustration with the RFS bureaucracy.

“You weren’t allowed to just go and put out a fire,” she said. “You always had to wait for approval. So, as you waited, the fire just escalated.”

Instead, Ms Noakes joined the “mosquito army”, a network of community-based firefighting teams, that went on to play a vital role in firefighting efforts during the 2019-2020 bushfires around Braidwood in the NSW Southern Tablelands.

With their own firefighting gear and radios, local knowledge and experience, the “mozzies” worked in close partnership with their local brigades when RFS resources were stretched beyond their limit across the state.

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The Victim Summaries

The Victim summaries contained in this document are from volunteers and staff who have bravely contacted the author to express their destressing and desperate plights. What is clear in every case is that the New South Wales Rural Fire Service (RFS) knowing showed an arogenate disregard of its duty of care as an employer. It, the RFS, fosters a culture where reports of Bullying, Harassment, Discrimination and Sexual Misconduct were ignored, supressed or dismissed. Complaints and grievances are systematically lost and investigations delayed and incompetently mishandled to the point complainants simply give up and leave the service. Retaliation is a common occurrence for victims of the RFS. It is common for a complainant to be the subject of a new counter complaint especially when the original complaint is about a Captain or other senior member of their Brigade. Dog Whistling and Gaslighting are common place and go unchecked even in the presence of senior RFS staff.

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Survey – Impact of Firefighting chemicals on Species and Ecosystems in Australia

A team of researchers at Griffith University are conducting a survey to try and identify knowledge and knowledge gaps in relation to the impact of fire-fighting chemicals on species and ecosystems in Australia as part of a larger project.

They are looking for the opinions of people from groups involved in fire management in Australia.

These groups might include fire services, researchers, policy makers, land managers, government and chemical manufacturers.

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