Many volunteers took part in last year’s national Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey, and the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) is inviting NSW RFS members to once again participate in the 2018 survey.
The annual survey began with the CFA volunteers’ association, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV) five years ago, and now for the third year, VFBV is hosting a version on behalf of RFSA. Once again the survey is available to volunteer fire associations through the Council of Australian Volunteer Fire Associations (CAVFA).
A volunteer sent us an email and a document that was circulated from a Fire Control Centre recently. We have decided to share this information in a quest to discover if this Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma documentation is widespread and are there other injury specific forms in use.
The Tick Insect Bite Pro Forma is dated August 2016 and the document control states that it is version 1.3.
The questions being asked on the form are:
1. Was insect repellent containing Picaridin (e.g. Johnson ‘OFF!’ repellent) available to the injured member on the day of injury? If yes, did the injured member apply the repellent before commencing work and reapply as necessary during work?
2. On the day of injury did the Supervisor remind the injured member that repellent MUST be applied prior to work, then reapplied at regular intervals (particularly when sweating)?
3. When the tick was found was the removal undertaken by a competent first aider and can you confirm that the whole tick was removed (i.e. No head left behind)? If more than one tick, specify number of ticks.
4. What part(s) of the body were bitten by the tick(s)?
5. Has the injured member had any medical complications from the tick bite(s)?
The Mallacoota Fire Brigade’s Safety and Community Resilience Team has extended an invitation to all interested RFS Brigades to attend a joint CFA, SES, Coastguard, Police and Ambulance Community Safety and Awareness Day at “Waitangi”, Double Creek, 8km west of Mallacoota on the 17th September 2016.
This event is intended to raise awareness and preparedness in the event of a fire or similar emergency situation impacting their communities. Their aim is for members of the public to gain knowledge from a number of speakers on a broad range of subjects from ‘forest management’ and ‘fire ecology’ to ‘equine management during emergencies’.
BlazeAid is a volunteer-based organisation that works with families and individuals in rural Australia after natural disasters such as fires and floods. Working alongside the rural families, our volunteers help to rebuild fences and other structures that have been damaged or destroyed.
By Michael Eburn
One of our members who was previously not an officer of the brigade gained employment with the RFS and as part of his employment was given a staff rank that outranks any of the officers in the brigade.
This member has since informed us that he also carries that rank into his volunteer time with the brigade and that as a consequence he has to wear his staff rank to jobs with the brigade and if he is unhappy with the way an incident is being run by the brigade he has a legal obligation to take over control of the incident, and that he is the one that will be responsible if something goes wrong as he would be the senior officer on scene.
This two day, multi-disciplinary fire management conference will focus on how fire can be used to rehabilitate degraded landscapes, restore ecological integrity and reinstate resilience into the environment and the community.
PROBAN® treated cotton has been in use by Australian emergency services agencies for in excess of thirty years without any significant issues or concerns being identified. The Australian Firefighters’ Health study provides some reassurance that records indicate the incidence of cancers associated with formaldehyde are not elevated for Australian firefighters.
What the testing conducted by the CSIRO has done is raise concerns about how the PPE is stored and handled. The unexpected issue is the amount of formaldehyde both retained and given-off by the PROBAN® treated cotton which is at levels outside the product manufacturers stated release levels. This warrants further investigation. AFAC will pursue this through the engagement of the AFAC PPE Technical Group.
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.
VFFA President, Peter Cannon was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in the general division as recognition for his tireless contribution to emergency services as a volunteer bushfire fighter. Peter joined his local brigade at Bulgandramine almost 50 years ago.
This post is an article that was published in The Land newspaper on Australia Day.