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Protect the Protectors - Leah Ross

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

Leah Ross is a Senior Deputy Captain, based in Mullumbimby. A member of the NSW Rural Fire Service since 1995, Leah supports the introduction of a 40 kilometre an hour zone for drivers passing a stationary, or slow-moving emergency services vehicle.

For me, fire-fighting is a family affair. My husband is the Captain, my son is a Deputy Captain and my daughter is a volunteer.

I love everything about my work as a volunteer – helping my community is the greatest feeling in the world.

But every day when I go to work, there’s a constant worry – that myself, someone in my family or one of my colleagues will be hit by a car while they work on the side of the road.

I’m from a brigade that attends many motor vehicle accidents each year. In fact, most RFSA members are in the same situation.

We cover a large section of the Pacific Motorway, where vehicles roar past us at up to 110 kilometres an hour.

All too often, they are distracted by what we are doing and not paying attention on the road.

Over the years, this has sadly resulted in other vehicles being hit by cars.

With more and more people on the road, and more accidents, I can tell you that across the emergency services there’s a great fear that a fatality occurring is only a matter of time. We can’t let that happen.

I believe that we must do all we can to protect the people who protect our communities. The best way to do that is by introducing this new law, requiring drivers to slow down to 40 kilometres an hour when they pass a slow-moving or stationary emergency vehicle.

I’m extremely thankful that the RFSA campaign for this law has attracted support from state MPs, local Councils and the community.

It sends a clear message to the State Government that this law is important and must be introduced for the safety of our volunteers and all emergency workers.

All emergency workers go out there to help others in the community and their families need to know that they will come home safely.

This safety measure means there is one less thing we all have to worry about.

I think all members of parliament should come out on the road with us and see what it’s like for a truck to hurtle past you at 110 kilometres an hour. Until you have been there and feel the way a semi shakes your body, you simply don’t understand.

I sincerely hope that the NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey and the State Government recognises this – and moves urgently to implement this law. 

- Leah Ross