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2018 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey Results

 

The 2018 Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey attracted responses from almost 6,000 fire service volunteers from across Australia and was run during the months of September and October 2018.

 

This was the third national survey for fire service volunteers, providing evidence, quantitative and qualitative data on matters of importance to volunteers. The Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey was established by Volunteer Fire Brigade’s Victoria (VFBV) in 2012 and was endorsed by CAVFA (Council of Australian Fire Associations) in 2016 to be expanded to allow fire service volunteers from across Australia to take part. The RFSA has taken part in the annual survey since 2016 and in 2018 more than 1,800 RFSA members responded to questions about their experience as a member of the NSW Rural Fire Service.

 

78% of respondents were male, 20% were female and 2% preferred not to say or identified transgender or other. Most respondents were aged 55 – 64 (30%) however participation spread across all age groups including <25 (5%) and 65+ (26%). Most identified as being part of a Rural Brigade (40%) and either a regular brigade member (42%) or someone holding a leadership position within their brigade (51%). The majority of respondents are only members of the NSW RFS (92%) although some also identified as members of the SES, Volunteer Rescue Association, other fire service (FRNSW) or Marine Rescue.

 

80% of respondents were satisfied with their role as an RFS volunteer, slightly down on the 2017 result (81% in 2017). 66% are satisfied with the way volunteers are treated by the RFS, with 21% dissatisfied with the way volunteers are treated by the RFS. 86% intend to continue their membership with RFS which is the same result as 2017.

 

With a combined response of 92% the top two reasons respondents gave as to why they were members of the NSW RFS was 'to help protect the community I live in' and 'to provide a sense of fulfilment in supporting my community in a meaningful way.'

 

Respondents were also asked to rank importance vs performance in key areas. The relative measure of how closely performance meets the expectation of importance, is referred to as the gap.

 

The smallest gap was recorded in relation to the questions:

 

  • There are no barriers to the roles women can occupy in my brigade;
  • People from all cultural backgrounds, different religious, political and personal beliefs are all made welcome at my brigade; and
  • The time I devote to the NSW RFS is productive and worthwhile.

 

The largest gap was recorded in relation to the questions:

 

  • Volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at a NSW RFS corporate level;
  • Volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at my local District/Regional level; and
  • My brigade is successful in ‘retaining’ younger people as volunteers.

 

A detailed report of the NSW survey results is available to download here.

The national results are available on the CAVFA website www.cavfa.com.au.