What should a volunteer wear to a given event?

Many volunteers are either:

  1. Happy to wear civilian clothing
  2. Wear a clean blue shirt
  3. Some may even wear a purchased white shirt if they wish to buy one.

The biggest problem is that the wearing of an appropriate uniform for a given event is not clear.

The Commissioner shall determine the uniform of the NSW RFS

The NSW RFS Service Standard 8.1.1, Uniforms for NSW RFS Members (6 November 2012 Version Number 3.1) states:

1.1 As an emergency service, the NSW RFS needs to appropriately identify its members by way of issuing an appropriate uniform.

2.1 The Commissioner shall determine the uniform of the NSW RFS.

2.3 A NSW RFS Uniform Protocol Manual will be developed to set out the appropriate wearing of the uniform.

2.11 Uniforms for volunteer members may only be purchased from the approved supplier of uniform to the NSW RFS or the District Office. As of the date of this Service Standard, only the RFSA shop is an authorised supplier of uniform to volunteer members. Note: They are unable to sell blue drill shirts but they do sell yellow and white shirts.

It would seem as thought the Commissioner exercised his ability to determine what a volunteer can wear by way of ceasing the supply of the blue shirt and where is the NSW RFS Uniform Protocol Manual that was referred to back in November 2012.

He did state that he would make one yellow shirt available at no cost to each volunteer but that free shirt comes at a cost to NSW RFS Districts, Teams or Zones (depending upon your local area).

Directions from NSW RFS Head Office for ANZAC Day

A note at the end of an ANZAC Day Parade message from Acting Commissioner, Rob Rogers stated that Ribbon bars or medals are not to be worn on yellow drill shirts.

Volunteers are now faced with the prospect of buying a white shirt if they want to display medals at a formal ceremony.


The White Shirt $55 for RFSA members



The Blue Drill Shirt – No longer available


The Yellow Shirt – Can’t be worn with your awards / medals

Bring Back the Blue…

The Uniform Debacle Continues
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7 thoughts on “The Uniform Debacle Continues

  • September 6, 2016 at 1:47 am

    What are the regulations around wearing the white shirt “dress” uniform.
    As a new BF firefighter, can I choose to buy and wear the uniform if I go to something like a Remembrance Day service or an ANZAC Day dawn service, etc? Or do you have to be of a certain rank or permission, etc?

  • September 17, 2016 at 4:51 am

    We are still waiting for the NSW RFS Ceremonies and Events Protocol Manual to be developed. A directive is usually circulated prior to these events.

    Service Standard 8.1.3 Ceremonies and Events

    3. Policy
    3.1 All NSW RFS personnel are required to observe protocols for the wearing of uniforms as specified in Service Standard 8.1.1 Uniforms for NSW RFS Members.
    3.2 All NSW RFS ceremonies and events are to be organised and conducted in a way that represents the Service as a professional and disciplined Emergency Service.
    3.3 All representatives of the NSW RFS at International, National, State or local ceremonies and events will act in a manner that reflects positively on the Service and in accordance with Service Standard 1.1.7 Code of Conduct and Ethics.
    3.4 All ceremonies and events either hosted or co-ordinated by the NSW RFS must conform to this Service Standard and accompanying Standard Operating Procedures.
    3.5 A NSW RFS Ceremonies and Events Protocol Manual will be developed and published online.
    3.6 Any sponsorship or external funding required to conduct a NSW RFS ceremony or event is to be in accordance with Policy P2.1.4 Corporate Sponsorship.

  • November 18, 2020 at 2:26 pm

    Many RFS members are being awarded the Premier’s Citation for their service in the 2019/20 fire season. Most of these fire-fighters are only issued the yellow PPC uniform. If I understand this discussion thread, medals are only worn when one is in the white uniform.
    Are there ceremonial occasions (such as the funeral of a fellow firefighter) when RFS fire-fighters will be permitted to both wear their only issued uniform and the Premier’s Citation?

  • September 26, 2021 at 7:53 am

    Hi, Recently read this article and I feel the question that needs to be asked is, Why have Awards been created by an organisation when Volunteers are not able to wear them. As for the Premiers Bushfire Citation, did those in Authority explain to the Premier’s Depart when it was decided to create the Award that thankyou but most of our Volunteers cannot wear it in a meaningful way. So the awards really are claytons awards. I know we are not like a Military Organisation and wearing Uniforms is a normal every day thing, but there are times aside form fire fighting and emergency situations when there are Formal and Informal situations when I believe Medals or Ribbons maybe worn if you have them. Especially when many members will shortly be receiving the National Emergency Medal. I believe that the Awarding of these medals is meant to be a showing of the Government and Organisation it’s gratitude for the Volunteers Service and as such members would be able to show their pride in that Service by being able to wear them.

  • October 14, 2021 at 9:55 pm

    The problem is that the RFS refuses to pay for dress uniforms for volunteers. I believe that a standard of issue be developed for issue of uniforms and that would make district monger’s responsible for the issue to volunteers.
    Staff get as standard issue, dress uniforms, yellows, rain coats and everything under the sun they want but volunteers depending on their role.
    As for the National Medal, it state the recipient may wear the award when ever they want. I believe this would be the case for all national medals.

  • July 14, 2022 at 9:03 pm

    Here we are in winter again and no cold climate jackets available.

  • July 19, 2022 at 7:35 pm

    Yes Shane, you would think it would be part of the climate change package?
    When you can get an average of $9M+ to build a new FCC what’s a few thousand dollars to be spent on the welfare and comfort of the members?

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