A workplace injury case history…
A recent case was presented by a current RFS Volunteer to a VFFA Executive Meeting and it showed the utter frustration of a Volunteer being injured on the fire ground. The Volunteer’s injury was an ongoing one and over the years the RFS had accepted every medical certificate from the treating doctor allowing the Volunteer to go on the fire line with restrictions in place as per the certificates, Work Cover also accepted the certificates. The Volunteer recently needed to have surgery which had the Volunteer requiring four months of work. Although the Volunteer was entitled to workers compensation payments, there was still quite a significant short fall compared to their regular income.
Michael Eburn says that he is asked this question by a NSW volunteer and jumps to a quick conclusion – lights and sirens don’t give you any rights.
The question was: I was told other vehicles must give way to emergency vehicles when under lights and sirens but I’ve also been told that if you’re under lights and sirens it does not give you the right-of-way. Of course you have to take care at all times but I’m interested in know what rights does the driver of an emergency services vehicles under lights and sirens have.
Only three months into the job and Emergency Services Minister David Elliott has upset some of the very people he is in the post to represent.
Volunteer firefighters along with landowners who lost property and farm animals in the Wambelong Fire on “Black Sunday” in January 2013 say they are insulted by comments made by the minister at a recent conference.
Image: Martin Lill, son of stud farmer Stephen Lill, who lost more than 200 stud cattle in the fire. Photo: Jacky Ghossein
The President of the Volunteer Firefighters Association (VFFA), Mr. Peter Cannon OAM , has welcomed the findings and recommendations of the NSW Upper House Inquiry into the Wambelong Fire, released today, as a positive step towards a system that will deliver far better outcomes for bushfire management and suppression for NSW and the Coonabarabran community.
The committee has set out a number of strategies to build greater respect for volunteers into the practices, procedures and culture of the RFS.
Recommendation 19 states that the NSW Rural Fire Service formally recognise the Volunteer Fire Fighters Association as a legitimate advocacy organisation representing volunteer bush fire fighters, and duly consult with it on policy and operational matters.