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Rural Firefighters provide valuable feedback for Independent Review.

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

 

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) is thanking rural firefighters across NSW for the feedback that they are providing on the review into the response to the Reedy Swamp fire Bega that occurred on 18 March 2018, and subsequently impacted on the township of Tathra.

 

RFSA President, Ken Middleton said the feedback received was constructive and would inform the RFSA’s response to the Keelty Commission of Inquiry.

 

“I want to thank our members for the insights they have provided to us in regards to the review into the recent Bega Valley bush fire,” Mr Middleton said.

 

“Our members serve in the world’s largest volunteer fire fighting agency and they know their ‘patch’ better than anyone else.

 

“This means they are best placed to advise on issues impacting their local areas.

 

“Throughout the feedback it is obvious that NSW RFS members simply want the best for their communities.

 

“Their comments reinforce our members’ commitment to do whatever needs to be done to ensure the safety of the people of NSW in the most efficient manner possible.”

 

Middleton said volunteer firefighters are adamant about the importance of maintaining their autonomy and culture, but recognised the opportunity to drive further improvements in service delivery. 

 

“Our members have clearly stated the importance of the NSW RFS remaining an autonomous agency due to its training, specific equipment and volunteer firefighter ethos,” he said.

 

“But there is also support for driving improvements, such as vehicle tracking as it adds to crew safety.”

 

Mr Middleton also reiterated the valuable role volunteer firefighters play in keeping NSW safe.  

 

“Our members are locals who will drop everything during an emergency to assist their communities, saving lives and homes during fire disasters.

 

“They are some of the most highly skilled and highly trained volunteers in the world, and their efforts are remarkably valuable. In fact, a 2011 report by Deloitte found volunteers provide services to the people of New South Wales and the State Government to the value of $1.3 billion each year.”