A+   A-

Support & Counselling

In providing for the health and wellbeing of Members, the RFSA supports the NSW Rural Fire Service's Counselling and Support and Chaplaincy services, both in principal and financially.

Counselling and Support

Counselling & Support

The welfare of emergency service personnel has long been recognised as being essential to the maintenance of efficient and effective emergency services agencies. Counselling and support services available to volunteers and their immediate family members are the Critical Incident and Support Services (CISS) and the Member Assistance Program (MAP).

Critical Incident & Support Services (CISS)

This service has been established to provide critical incident support services to all members of the NSW RFS experiencing critical incident stress reactions during or after an operational incident. Critical Incident Support Services available include:

  • pre-incident information education
  • one-to-one interventions
  • on-scene support
  • a range of group intervention
  • individual counselling
  • referrals
  • chaplaincy
  • family support.

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

CISM is used by most emergency services in Australia and the western world and is designed to mitigate or reduce the severity of the impact of a critical incident, and accelerate the normal recovery process of people who have been exposed to very unusual events.

Accessing Critical Incident Support Services (CISS)

When Critical Incident Support Services are required, the CISS Team may be activated at any time during the day or night through the CISS Duty Officer contacted via RFS State Operations, telephone: 1800 049 933 (available 24 hours). All information is treated in strict confidentiality.

General Enquiries or Education Requests

For general information or to arrange education sessions, contact Paul Scott, CISS Manager at NSW RFS during business hours, telephone: 02 8741 5223.

Your experience is a very personal one and this brochure may help you to know how others have reacted to similar situations. It will also show how you can help normal healing to occur and to avoid some pitfalls.

Download Coping With the Effects of Critical Incident Stress >>

Member Assistance Programme (MAP)

The Service recognises the need to support its volunteer members who may be affected by situations or circumstances not directly relating to their RFS membership or operational activities. In these cases, information and referral assistance is available, which helps members and their families identify options to address their needs and will endeavour to locate an appropriate practitioner within their local area. For confidential enquiries, contact Paul Scott, CISS Manager, telephone: 02 8741 5223.

For all enquires relating to counselling and support services, contact Counselling & Support Service personnel, telephone: 1800 049 933 (24 hours).


The Chaplaincy and Family Support Program exists to support, nurture and express spiritual and religious beliefs and values to the members of the Rural Fire Service and their families, to give whatever assistance is possible to the community, and ancillary units associated in the support of the Service, irrespective of religion or denominational affiliation.

The Chaplaincy focuses on three main areas of ministry: physical, cognitive and spiritual development.

What Fire Chaplains do:

  • Crisis Situations involving RFS personnel.
  • Crisis situations involving families of RFS personnel
  • Visiting RFS personnel that are sick or injured at home or in hospital
  • Crisis intervention involving victims of emergencies that require fire response.
  • Assist staff and volunteers with stress management
  • Crisis intervention involving staff or volunteers seeking family guidance
  • Serve as part of the Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) process
  • Assist the Incident Management Team (IMT) at an emergency situation
  • Serve as liaison with local Clergy
  • Perform or participate in wedding ceremonies, funerals, dedications and baptisms for RFS personnel and their families
  • Provide a listening ear and keep what is heard confidential
  • Support an individual during grief from loss of function and to help the family and RFS community to be supportive during return to optimal independence.

Download the Chaplaincy and Family Support brochure >>

For all enquires relating to counselling and support services please contact NSW RFS Counselling & Support Service personnel, telephone: 02 8741 5223.