The Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon. David Elliott MP release the following media release on Wednesday 18th November 2015.
EMERGENCY SERVICES READY TO RESPOND
The ranks of the Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) swelled to a record 74,516 volunteers as the NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES) racked up a staggering 274,149 hours of work in support of the community in 2014/15.
Meanwhile, Fire & Rescue NSW firefighters responded in 11 minutes 30 seconds, or better, to 90 per cent of emergency calls. At 50 per cent of emergencies, the first fire truck was on the scene within 7 minutes and 15 seconds.
Minister for Emergency Services David Elliott said he was proud of the courage, resilience and professionalism of the state’s emergency services after he tabled annual reports for NSW RFS, NSW SES and FRNSW in NSW Parliament today.
“Our services are leaders in emergency management and are doing an outstanding job of meeting the needs of the community during their time of greatest need,” Mr Elliott said
“The NSW Government is committed to ensuring they have the resources they need to protect communities and help increase our resilience against the impact of fires, floods and other emergencies.”
Key highlights from the emergency services annual reports include:
- 117,000 properties valued at more than $111m protected by hazard reduction
- 7,837 bushfires attended by NSW RFS during the October-March season
- 392 NSW SES flood rescue boats – the largest national fleet
- 128,076 fire and other emergencies attended by FRNSW
- 21,506 requests for assistance to NSW SES during Hunter storm
- 4,164 students graduated NSW RFS secondary school cadet program
- New Remote Area Firefighting Teams at Gosford, Chifley and Southern Highlands
- Rollout of new ‘jet-style’ helmets for FRNSW firefighters
- Aerial resources responded to more than 1000 fire and other emergencies.
MEDIA: Katherine Danks | Minister Elliott | 0437 428 715
Whilst we thank Mr Elliott for acknowledging the great work of our volunteer firefighters, we are very concerned about the claims of ever increasing numbers of volunteers.
Mr Elliott claims that we now have 74,516 volunteers in the RFS.
We disagree with that claim, but don’t take our word for it, ask around for yourself. Go to a few country towns and ask the local Brigade how many people they have on the books, then ask how many are actively engaged in the day to day activities of that Brigade.
You will find that there are many factors causing the numbers of active members in rural areas to dwindle. Many long serving rural volunteers are no longer active with their local Brigade because they are becoming tired of the bloated bureaucracy that has developed, the city centric management and the lack of consultation with rural people.
This is why we need to:
Put the RURAL back into the Rural Fire Service
Feel free to comment on Mr Elliott’s media release.