New South Wales Rural Fire Service

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New South Wales Rural Fire Service
NSW Rural Fire Service logo.svg
Flag of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service.svg
Prepare. Act. Survive
Agency overview
Established1896
Staffing
  • 855 (paid staff)
  • 74,162 (voluntary members)
Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM
Facilities and equipment
Stations 2,029
Engines
  • 3,783 tankers
  • 62 pumpers
  • 59 bulk water carriers
Fireboats 30
Website
rfs.nsw.gov.au

The New South Wales Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) is a volunteer-based firefighting agency and statutory body of the Government of New South Wales.

Firefighting actions to protect people, animals, goods, lands, and other objects from fire

Firefighting is the act of attempting to prevent the spread of and extinguish significant unwanted fires in buildings, vehicles, woodlands, etc. A firefighter suppresses fires to protect lives, property and the environment.

A government or state agency, sometimes an appointed commission, is a permanent or semi-permanent organization in the machinery of government that is responsible for the oversight and administration of specific functions, such as an intelligence agency. There is a notable variety of agency types. Although usage differs, a government agency is normally distinct both from a department or ministry, and other types of public body established by government. The functions of an agency are normally executive in character, since different types of organizations are most often constituted in an advisory role—this distinction is often blurred in practice however.

Government of New South Wales state government of New South Wales, Australia

The Government of New South Wales, also referred to as the New South Wales Government or NSW Government, is the Australian state democratic administrative authority of New South Wales. It is currently held by a coalition of the Liberal Party and the National Party. The Government of New South Wales, a parliamentary constitutional monarchy, was formed in 1856 as prescribed in its Constitution, as amended from time to time. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, New South Wales has been a state of the Commonwealth of Australia, and the Constitution of Australia regulates its relationship with the Commonwealth. Under the Australian Constitution, New South Wales ceded legislative and judicial supremacy to the Commonwealth, but retained powers in all matters not in conflict with the Commonwealth.

Contents

The NSW RFS is responsible for fire protection in 95% of the land area of New South Wales and the Jervis Bay Territory, while urban areas are the responsibility of Fire and Rescue NSW. The NSW RFS is the primary agency for responding to bushfires in the state. In addition, they respond to structural fires, vehicle fires, motor vehicle accidents and wide range of other emergencies, as well as providing preventative advice to local communities.

New South Wales State of Australia

New South Wales is a state on the east coast of Australia. It borders Queensland to the north, Victoria to the south, and South Australia to the west. Its coast borders the Tasman Sea to the east. The Australian Capital Territory is an enclave within the state. New South Wales' state capital is Sydney, which is also Australia's most populous city. In September 2018, the population of New South Wales was over 8 million, making it Australia's most populous state. Just under two-thirds of the state's population, 5.1 million, live in the Greater Sydney area. Inhabitants of New South Wales are referred to as New South Welshmen.

Jervis Bay Territory Australia

The Jervis Bay Territory is a territory of the Commonwealth of Australia. It was surrendered by the state of New South Wales to the Commonwealth Government in 1915 so the Australian Capital Territory would have access to the sea.

Fire and Rescue NSW agency responsible for firefighting, rescue and hazmat services in the major cities, metropolitan areas and towns across rural and regional New South Wales, Australia

Fire and Rescue NSW, an agency of the Government of New South Wales, Australia, is responsible for firefighting, rescue and hazmat services in the major cities, metropolitan areas and towns across rural and regional New South Wales. Fire and Rescue NSW is the seventh largest urban fire service in the world, with over 6,800 firefighters serving at 335 fire stations throughout the state, supported by 465 administrative and trades staff and 5,700 community fire unit volunteers. FRNSW are also the busiest fire service in Australia, attending over 124,000 incidents a year and undertaking 52,000 community activities in 2017/18.

The NSW RFS is the world's largest volunteer fire service, with 74,162 volunteer members, although this figure includes many inactive volunteer firefighters and all support volunteers. They are organised into 2,029 brigades (local units). As of 30 June 2016, the service employed 855 paid staff who fulfill senior operational management and administrative roles. The agency attends to approximately 23,000 incidents per annum. [1]

Volunteering altruistic activity

Volunteering is generally considered an altruistic activity where an individual or group provides services for no financial or social gain "to benefit another person, group or organization". Volunteering is also renowned for skill development and is often intended to promote goodness or to improve human quality of life. Volunteering may have positive benefits for the volunteer as well as for the person or community served. It is also intended to make contacts for possible employment. Many volunteers are specifically trained in the areas they work, such as medicine, education, or emergency rescue. Others serve on an as-needed basis, such as in response to a natural disaster.

The agency is led by its Commissioner, presently Shane Fitzsimmons, who reports to the Minister for Emergency Services, currently the Hon. Troy Grant MP.

Shane Fitzsimmons is the Commissioner of the New South Wales Rural Fire Service. Prior to his appointment as Commissioner on 18 September 2007, Fitzsimmons served as Acting Commissioner between January and September.

Troy Grant Australian politician

Troy Wayne Grant, a former Australian politician, was the Minister for Police and the Minister for Emergency Services from January 2017 until March 2019 in the Berejiklian government. Grant was a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly representing Dubbo for the Nationals from 2011 to 2019.

History

More than 100 years ago, the residents of the small town of Berrigan in south west New South Wales, banded together as firefighters to protect their community against the ever-present threat of bush fires. They were Australia's first official bush fire brigade.

Berrigan, New South Wales Town in New South Wales, Australia

Berrigan is a town on the Riverina Highway in the Riverina region of New South Wales, Australia. Berrigan is in the Berrigan Shire local government area and contains the Berrigan Shire Council offices. At the 2016 census, Berrigan had a population of 1,260.

Riverina Region in New South Wales, Australia

The Riverina is an agricultural region of South-Western New South Wales (NSW), Australia. The Riverina is distinguished from other Australian regions by the combination of flat plains, warm to hot climate and an ample supply of water for irrigation. This combination has allowed the Riverina to develop into one of the most productive and agriculturally diverse areas of Australia. Bordered on the south by the state of Victoria and on the east by the Great Dividing Range, the Riverina covers those areas of New South Wales in the Murray and Murrumbidgee drainage zones to their confluence in the west.

Prior to 1997, bushfire fighting services in New South Wales were essentially a patchwork of more than 200 separate fire fighting agencies working under a loose umbrella with no single chain of command. The core of the service, then as now, was the volunteer brigades that were organised along council district lines under the command of a locally appointed Fire Control Officer. Fire fighting efforts were funded by the Bush Fire Fighting Fund, established in 1949 and financed by insurance companies, local council and the State Government. A variety of State-run committees and councils oversaw bush fire operations with members drawn from various Government fire fighting agencies and council and volunteer representatives. These groups developed legislation and techniques but in the main responsibility for bushfire management was vested in individual local councils in dedicated bush fire areas as determined under the 1909 Fire Brigades Act. This Act proclaimed the areas serviced by the Board of Fire Commissioners (now Fire and Rescue NSW) and covered the urban areas of Sydney and Newcastle together with most regional and country towns of any significance. [2]

Newcastle, New South Wales City in New South Wales, Australia

The Newcastle metropolitan area is the second most populated area in the Australian state of New South Wales and the Newcastle and Lake Macquarie local government areas. It is the hub of the Greater Newcastle area which includes most parts of the local government areas of City of Newcastle, City of Lake Macquarie, City of Cessnock, City of Maitland and Port Stephens Council.

In January 1994, extreme weather conditions resulted in over 800 bush fires breaking out along the coast of NSW. More than 800,000 hectares (2,000,000 acres) of land and 205 homes were burned. 120 people were injured and four people were killed, including a volunteer firefighter from the Wingello Bush Fire Brigade (seven were also injured). The financial cost of the disaster was estimated at $165 million. The lengthy Coronial Inquiry that followed recommended the State Government introduce a single entity responsible for the management of bush fires in NSW. The 1997 Rural Fires Act was proclaimed on 1 September, with Phil Koperberg announced as Commissioner. As Director-General of the Department of Bush Fire Services, Koperberg had been in command of the fire agencies battling the 1994 fires and was instrumental in developing the legislation that led to the Rural Fires Act. [3]

Volunteer brigades, 1896–1936

RFS memorial in Berrigan commemorating the establishment of the first bush fire brigade in New South Wales. BerriganRFSMemorial.jpg
RFS memorial in Berrigan commemorating the establishment of the first bush fire brigade in New South Wales.

Organised control of bush fires began with the establishment of the first volunteer bush fire brigades at Berrigan in 1896. [4] [5] This brigade had been established in response to a series of large fires in northern Victoria and south western New South Wales in the 1890s. These culminated in the Red Tuesday fire of 1 February 1898 in Gippsland that claimed 12 lives and destroyed 2000 buildings. [6]

In 1916 the Local Government Act provided for the prevention and mitigation of bush fires by authorising local councils to establish, manage and maintain these brigades. [7] The establishment of the Bush Fires Act in 1930 granted local councils the authority to appoint bush fire officers with powers comparable to those held by a Chief Officer of the NSW Fire Brigades. [8] These Fire Control Officers were responsible for bush fire management within their appointed local council districts.

Bush Fire Advisory Committee, 1939–1948

In September 1939 a conference of fire-fighting authorities was convened to discuss the prevention of bush fires during the summer months. The Bush Fire Advisory Committee was established to prevent and mitigate bush fires. [9] This committee had no statutory powers but publicised the need for the public to observe fire safety precautions and highlighted the role of Bush Fire Brigades. It was also largely responsible for preparing legislation that led to the Bush Fires Act of 1949. [10]

Bush Fire Committee, 1949–1970

The Bush Fires Act, 1949 came into effect on 9 December 1949. [11] This legislation consolidated and modernised the law relating to the prevention, control and suppression of bush fires, and gave councils and other authorities wider powers to protect the areas under their control. The system of bush fire brigades manned by volunteers and directed by their officers appointed by their local Councils continued but shire and district councils or Ministers could now appoint group captains to direct brigades formed by two adjoining councils. [12]

The Act also gave the Governor of NSW the authority to proclaim bush fire districts where none had previously been proclaimed. Essential to the legislation was the establishment of the Bush Fire Fighting Fund. This Fund was financed by insurance companies contributing half the funds with the remainder supplied equally by State and local government. The Act also enabled for the co-ordination of the activities of the Board of Fire Commissioners, the Forestry Commission (now State Forests) and the Bush Fire Brigades. The Minister for Local Government was empowered to appoint a person to take charge of all bush fire operations during a state of emergency. [12]

The Bush Fire Committee replaced the Bush Fire Advisory Committee and had 20 members representing NSW Government departments, local government, the insurance industry, the farming community, the Board of Fire Commissioners, and the Commonwealth Meteorological Bureau. A Standing Committee composed of a chairman and five others met at least once a month. [12] Based in Sydney, the Bush Fire Committee advised the Chief Secretary and Minister for Local Government on all matters relating to bush fires, and generally co-ordinated the work of volunteer fire fighting groups and was responsible for community education relating to bush fires. [12]

The most significant bushfire in New South Wales during this period was the Southern Highlands (1965) bushfire.

Bush Fire Council/Bush Fire Service, 1970–1997

In 1970 the Bush Fire Committee was replaced by the Bush Fire Council, [13] with members drawn from the various fire fighting authorities from around the state. A special Co-ordinating Committee was established to oversee the co-ordination of fire-fighting and related resources prior to and during the bush fire season, and particularly during bush fire emergencies. A Chief Co-ordinator of Bush Fire Fighting was also appointed. [14]

In January 1975, the Bush Fires Branch of the NSW Chief Secretary's department integrated with the State Emergency Service and renamed the Bush Fire Service. [15]

The Department of Bush Fire Services was established in 1990. Brandon Leyba was appointed Director-General of the Department on 11 May. [16] The Department's main role was in co-ordinating the fire fighting activities of other government agencies such as the National Parks and Wildlife Service, State Forests of New South Wales, Sydney Water and the New South Wales Fire Brigades in emergency circumstances. [17] It was also responsible for the management and control of the NSW Bush Fire Fighting Fund and the co-ordination of the State's 2,500 Bush Fire Brigades, [18] however the brigades still remained under the direct control of local council.

Major bushfires during this period were in Far West NSW at Moolah-Corinya, [19] [20] [21] [22] Cobar, [19] [20] [21] [22] Balranald, [20] [21] [22] and across other parts of NSW (in 1974–75), [23] [24] [25] Sydney (1979), [26] Waterfall (1980), [27] Grays Point (1983), [28] Western NSW grasslands (1984), [20] [21] [22] Cobar and across other parts of NSW (in 1984–85), [20] [21] [22] [23] [24] [25] and across Australia's eastern seaboard (1994). [29]

NSW Rural Fire Service, 1997–present

The former Rural Fire Service Headquarters situated on Carter Street, Lidcombe. RFS HQ.jpg
The former Rural Fire Service Headquarters situated on Carter Street, Lidcombe.

The NSW Rural Fire Service was established by the Rural Fires Act 1997 which was assented to on 10 July 1997 and came into force on 1 September 1997. [30] The Rural Fires Act repealed the Bush Fires Act, 1949 thereby dissolving the Bush Fire Council and its Committees. Members of these bodies ceased to hold office but were entitled to hold office on a replacing body.

The Rural Fire Service Advisory Council of New South Wales was established. The Council was to consist of nine representatives with a direct or indirect association with bush fire prevention and control; the Commissioner in charge of bush fire fighting services was ex-officio to be the Chairperson of the Council. The task of the Council was to advise and report to the Minister and Commissioner on any matter relating to the administration of rural fire services, and to advise the Commissioner on public education programs relating to rural fire matters, training of rural fire fighters, and on the issue of Service Standards.

A statutory body – the Bush Fire Co-ordinating Committee – also was established. This was to consist of 12 members including the Commissioner who was to act as Chairperson. The Committee was to be responsible for the administration of rural fires management as well as advising the Commissioner on bush fire prevention.

The Committee was to constitute a Bush Fire Management Committee for "the whole of the area of any local authority for which a rural fire district is constituted". Each Management Committee was to prepare and present to the Council a plan of operations and bush fire risk management plan for its area within three months of establishment. The former was to be reviewed every two years; the latter every five years.

Section 102 of the new act established the New South Wales Rural Fire Fighting Fund to replace the New South Wales Bush Fire Fighting Fund. Quarterly contributions from insurance companies, local councils and the Treasury were to continue in the same proportions as under previous legislation – 14% from the State Treasury, 73.7% from the insurance industry and 12.3% from local Councils. [31]

Major bushfires during this period were at Lithgow (1997), [32] Black Christmas (2001–02), Central Coast (2006), Junee (2006), [33] [34] Pulletop (2006), Australian season (2006–07), [35] [36] [37] [38] [39] [40] Warrumbungles (2013), [41] New South Wales (2013), [42] [43] [44] Carwoola (2017), [45] and Tathra (2018). [46]

Structure

NSW RFS Headquarters is located at 4 Murray Rose Avenue, Sydney Olympic Park. It relocated to this location in November 2018 and was previously situated at Rosehill until October 2004. Separate directorates within NSW RFS Headquarters are responsible for Infrastructure Services, Membership and Strategic Services, Operations, and Finance and Executive Services.

Regional offices mirror these responsibilities at more centralised locations across the State. The original eight regions were consolidated into four by 2000. These regions are as follows:

Formerly run by council-appointed officers, district Fire Control Centres became State controlled under the Rural Fires Act. District offices manage the day-to-day affairs of local brigades and maintain responsibility for local fire prevention and strategies. With the amalgamation of neighbouring districts over recent years, there are 47 NSW Rural Fire Service Districts.

Volunteer brigades are responsible for hands-on bush firefighting duties. Since the establishment of the Rural Fire Service, the role of brigades has gradually expanded to include disaster recovery, fire protection at motor vehicle accidents, search and rescue operations and increased levels of structural firefighting. There are more than 2,000 firefighting brigades [47] and more than 50 catering and communications brigades providing support.

Senior officers

Commissioner

The most senior member of the organisation is the Commissioner. The first NSW RFS Commissioner was Phil Koperberg, who was previously the Director-General of the NSW Department of Bushfire Services since its creation in 1990. In 2007 he stepped down as Commissioner after announcing his candidature for the 2007 state election in which he was elected as the Member for Blue Mountains. In September 2007 Shane Fitzsimmons was officially appointed NSW RFS Commissioner.

NameTitleTerm startTerm endTime in officeNotes
Phil Koperberg AO , AFSM , BEM Commissioner1 September 199712 January 20079 years, 133 days [30] [48]
Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM 18 September 2007incumbent11 years, 206 days

Deputy Commissioner

NameTitleTerm startTerm endTime in officeNotes
Rob RogersDeputy Commissioner2011incumbent

Senior Assistant Commissioner

Within the NSW RFS, the head of one of the functional area aligned Directorates within Headquarters is given the corporatised designation Executive Director.

Two of the current Executive Directors are uniformed personnel with a rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner. The Executive Director, Operational Services holds the rank of Deputy Commissioner and the Executive Director, Infrastructure Services holds the rank of Senior Assistant Commissioner. Non-operational Executive Directors do not currently hold operational ranks.

NameTitleTerm startTerm endTime in officeNotes
Anthony GatesSenior Assistant Commissioner19971998
Bruce McDonald AFSM 2015incumbent

Assistant Commissioners

Currently the Commissioner has determined that certain occupiers of the role of Director have been appointed to the rank of Assistant Commissioner. Previously, subject to the various executive structures in place, the rank of Assistant Commissioner was held by operational Executive Directors / Directors.

Assistant CommissionersTerm startTerm end
Ross Smith19972002
Mark Crosweller AFSM 19972009
Anthony Howe AFSM 19992006
Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM 19992007
Rob Rogers AFSM 20022011
Keith Harrap AFSM 20042012
Dominic Lane AFSM 20082013
Bruce McDonald AFSM 20132015
Steve Yorke AFSM 2014incumbent
Stuart Midgley AFSM 2014incumbent
Jason Heffernan2015incumbent
Rebel Talbert2015incumbent
Kelly Browne AFSM 2018incumbent

Ranks

Operational

Operational RankMembership TypeInsignia
CommissionerNSW Government Senior Executive Service Officer NSWRFS Insignia Commissioner.jpg
Assistant CommissionerNSW Government Senior Executive Service Officer NSWRFS Insignia AssistCommissioner.jpg
Chief SuperintendentNSW Government Public Service Officer NSWRFS Insignia ChiefSuper.jpg
SuperintendentNSW Government Public Service Officer NSWRFS Insignia Super.jpg
InspectorNSW Government Public Service Officer NSWRFS Insignia Inspector.jpg
Group CaptainVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia GroupCapt.jpg
Deputy Group CaptainVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia DeptGroupCapt.jpg
CaptainVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia Captain.jpg
Senior Deputy CaptainVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia SeniorDeptCapt.jpg
Deputy CaptainVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia DeptCapt.jpg
Fire FighterVolunteer NSWRFS Insignia Member.jpg

Equipment

Firefighting vehicles

Firefighting appliances used within the RFS are all painted white over orange red with undercarriages painted black, equipped with red and blue flashing emergency lights and sirens. These Firefighting appliances are modified commercial trucks.

Appliances are categorised as follows:

CategorySample image(s)DescriptionCapacity
Sub-categoryCab sizeDrive wheels
1
Heavy tanker
New South Wales Rural Fire Service - Forest Hill Category 1.jpg VillageCrew4x43,000–4,000 litres (660–880 imp gal)
Multi-purpose
GrasslandsSingle4x4, 6x6
2
Medium tanker
Multi-purposeCrew4x41,600–3,000 litres (350–660 imp gal)
GrasslandsSingle4x4, 6x6
3
Heavy tanker
Multi-purposeCrew4x23,000–4,000 litres (660–880 imp gal)
Single
4
Medium tanker
Crew4x21,600–3,000 litres (350–660 imp gal)
Single
5Super tankerCrew4x4, 6x6More than 4,000 litres (880 imp gal)
Single
6

Heavy Tanker

Crew4x2, 6x4
Single
7Light tankerCrew4x4800–1,600 litres (180–350 imp gal)
Single4x4, 6x6
8Crew4x2
Single
9"Striker"Crew4x4Less than 800 litres (180 imp gal)
Single
10 Forest Hill Pumper.jpg Light pumperCrew4x2Less than 1,600 litres (350 imp gal)
Medium pumperMore than 1,600 litres (350 imp gal)
11 Regentville Pumper.jpg Medium pumper4x4
12 RFS Personnel carrier.jpg Personnel transportCrew4x4None
Bus, smallUp to 15 seatsN/A
Bus, largeMore than 15 seats
13Bulk Water CarrierMost likely single4x2, 6x4, 8x4More than 4,000 litres (880 imp gal)
Bulk Water TrailerN/A
14Tanker trailer, smallN/AN/ALess than 800 litres (180 imp gal)
Tanker trailer, largeMore than 800 litres (180 imp gal)
Pump trailerN/A
15 Elvina Bay - boats & houses.jpg Fire boatNone
Other boat
Boat trailer
17 New South Wales Rural Fire Service - Toyota Hilux with Kid's Firewise trailer.jpg Operational Support VehicleNone
19 NSW rural Fire Service Hyundai i45 - Flickr - Highway Patrol Images.jpg Operational Command VehicleNone
An older-style Mercedes-Benz LA-model fire fighting tanker from the NSW RFS Ladysmith Brigade, heading to a bushfire near Wagga Wagga. Ladysmith-RFS.JPG
An older-style Mercedes-Benz LA-model fire fighting tanker from the NSW RFS Ladysmith Brigade, heading to a bushfire near Wagga Wagga.
Shania (N720HT), nicknamed Elvis, dropping water during bushfires in the region on 30 April 2007. Shania N720HT.jpg
Shania (N720HT), nicknamed Elvis, dropping water during bushfires in the region on 30 April 2007.
A Suzuki DR-Z400 used by NSW Rural Fire Service. NSW Rural Fire Motorcycle.png
A Suzuki DR-Z400 used by NSW Rural Fire Service.

The most common of these tankers (a tanker is a type of fire appliance) is the dual cab Category 1 Tanker, which is mainly used in a combination of rural and urban/interface roles ('interface' meaning where built-up areas meet bushland). The next most common fire appliances are Category 7 tankers which are used to support heavier appliances in fire fighting operations as well as being a primary appliance themselves. They are also used where rugged terrain prevents heavy tankers access or where it is far too dangerous to take a heavier appliance. Single and dual cab and Category 9 appliances are most often used as rapid intervention vehicles (thus the name 'Striker') to attack small and spot fires quickly before they are able to spread as Strikers are much faster than heavy, medium and light tankers. Strikers are disadvantaged as they carry limited water. Category 9 appliances are also used to patrol an almost extinguished fire for flare-ups and can 'mop-up' small hot spots.

Category 2, 3 and 4 tankers are less common and are currently being phased out due to the flexibility of a Category 1 tanker. Category 10 and 11 urban pumpers can be found in many brigades with dedicated urban responsibilities, Category 11 being favoured over Category 10 because of its four-wheel drive capability. Category 13 vehicles, or bulk water carriers are usually rented in the event of a major fire campaign, however there are some Districts that maintain Category 13 vehicles where water supplies are almost always limited in rural and remote areas. Category 14 vehicles are often found on farms. The remaining categories are seldom, if ever, used. Technical information on some of these tankers is available in the Tanker Information section of the service's website.

There are a number of water-based fire fighting appliances (Category 15) within the NSW RFS; these appliances are generally operated by brigades located in areas where the only available access is via water (e.g. communities along the Hawkesbury River of NSW).

Support vehicles

A boat that is towed behind a trailer and used in the Penrith Area Regentville Fire Boat.jpg
A boat that is towed behind a trailer and used in the Penrith Area

The NSW RFS uses various support vehicles. These are categorised as follows:

Aviation

Beechcraft B200T Super King Air with belly camera hatch aft of the wing. NSW RFS "Firescan" (VH-LAB) Beechcraft B200T Super King Air.jpg
Beechcraft B200T Super King Air with belly camera hatch aft of the wing.
Tanker Air Carrier McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER. 10 Tanker Air Carrier McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER at Brisbane Airport.jpg
Tanker Air Carrier McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30ER.

The NSW Rural Fire Service also operates an Aviation Unit. The NSW RFS owns and contracts a number of aircraft for firefighting waterbombing, reconnaissance, intelligence gathering and transportation. The NSW RFS aircraft continue to be upgraded with additional camera technology and night vision capability.

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

Each NSW Rural Fire Service member is issued and equipped with the latest safety equipment to undertake the varied roles they are trained for. Examples of such PPE includes the following:

Minimum issue

  • Bushfire Boots – Steel or composite toe lace-up boots that are heat & chemical resistant.
  • Bushfire Gloves – leather Class 1 cuffed glove used for hand protection against radiant heat and sharp objects.
  • Bushfire Helmet – lightweight head protection for radiant heat and falling objects. Fitted with ProBan fire resistant neck flap and chin strap. Approved and distributed versions include drop down visor and provisions for ear protection.
  • Bushfire Two Piece Uniform – ProBan treated. Consists of gold/yellow jacket and pants with 3M triple reflective striping and NSW RFS reflective back patch and NSW RFS sleeve insignia.
  • Flash Hoods – Nomex. For face and head protection in case of fire overrun or for use with CABA – Compressed Air Breathing Apparatus where appropriate.
  • Bushfire Goggles – protect eyes from contaminants such as smoke, dust, embers etc.

Extended issue

For brigades with strong village roles, that are equipped with CABA – compressed air breathing apparatus, and perform offensive firefighting.

  • Structural Boots – steel capped boots
  • Structural Two-Piece Jacket and trousers – lime green in colour, for additional radiant heat protection
  • Structural Helmet – extra strength helmet, fitted with protective visor. Structural helmets are substantially heavier than the generic bushfire helmet.
  • Structural Gloves – insulated gloves suitable for high temperature environments

Optional issue

  • Wet Weather gear – two piece bright yellow wet weather gear. Some Districts will issue to each firefighter, other Districts will only issue per seat per appliance.
  • Cold Climate Jacket – Fleece lined often used in cold climates, or worn during overnight firefighting shifts if cold.

Brigades of the NSW RFS

See also

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Australian Capital Territory Rural Fire Service

The ACT Rural Fire Service is a branch of the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services Agency. It is responsible for the prevention, detection and extinguishment of all bushfires within the ACT, as well as assisting the other branches of ESA.

The 2017–18 Australian bushfire season was expected to have above normal bushfire risks with an elevated fire risk for the most of eastern and south Australian coastal areas. Australia had experienced its warmest winter on record and the ninth driest winter on record leaving dry fuel loads across much of southern Australia. Expected warmer weather over the summer period would also increase the risk. Bushfires were also expected to occur earlier, before the end of winter, as a result of the warm and dry winter. Both Queensland and north-eastern New South Wales experienced the wettest October since 1975 leading to a downgrade in bushfire risk.

2018 Tathra bushfire

The 2018 Tathra bushfire was a bushfire that burned between 18 and 19 March 2018 and primarily affected parts of the South Coast region in the Australian state of New South Wales. The fire, understood to have been caused by a failure in electrical infrastructure, began in the locality of Reedy Swamp, near Tarraganda, which spread east towards Tathra in the municipality of the Bega Valley Shire.

References

  1. "Fast Facts" (PDF). NSW Rural Fire Service. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 23 March 2018.
  2. for an extensive list of regional and country locations covered by the early NSWFB, see Board of Fire Commissioners 1914 Annual Report, Appendix VIII p.13.
  3. "History: 1980–1997: Proclamation of the Rural Fires Act 1997". NSW Rural Fire Service. Government of New South Wales. Retrieved 28 February 2017.
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  6. Department of Sustainability and Environment – Major Bushfires in Victoria Archived 23 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  7. NSW Local Government Act. (No. 41, 1919) Section 494
  8. NSW Bush Fires Act (No. 14, 1930) Section 4
  9. Board of Fire Commissioners of New South Wales Report for y/e 31 March 1937 p. 3 in NSW PP 1938-39-40 vol. 17 pp. 1063–1101
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  11. NSWGG 1949 vol. 2 p. 3660
  12. 1 2 3 4 "Agency: Bush Fire Committee". State Archives & Records. Government of New South Wales. 1970. Retrieved 30 March 2018.
  13. NSWGG 1970 vol. 2 p. 2110
  14. Bush Fires Act (No.25, 1970) s. 398
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  16. NSWGG 1990 vol. 2 part 1 p. 3775
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  23. 1 2 Ellis, Kanowski & Whelan (2004). COAG National Inquiry on Bushfire Mitigation and Management (PDF). Commonwealth of Australia. p. 341.
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  44. Madden, James. "Firestorm destroys NSW communities as hundreds of homes could be lost". The Australian . Retrieved 25 October 2013.
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  48. "Koperberg starts political career". Australia: ABC News. 12 January 2007.[ permanent dead link ]

Other references