Friday 12 November, 2004 Number 323 NSWFB The Rumour Mill No (02) 9265 2627

Burns Unit cheque presentation
On Tuesday I handed over a cheque for $60,000 to the Burns Unit at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, as a result of fortnightly payroll donations from employees of the NSWFB. Dr John Harvey from the Burns Unit explained to the patients and Hospital staff who were at the handover ceremony the need for donations so that the Burns Unit can invest in new equipment and conduct research keep Australia at the forefront worldwide in burns treatment. The NSWFB payroll deductions, as well as many other fundraising activities organised by members of the NSWFB each year help to make this all possible.

I am always filled with mixed emotions when I visit the Burns Unit. It is heart warming to see the children’s faces light up when firefighters walk into the ward, but it’s impossible not to feel sadness for the pain that these brave children have to endure.

Like me, I’m sure that many firefighters and support staff signed up for payroll deductions many years ago, at the suggested rate of $1 per fortnight. If all of us were to double this to $2, it would make an enormous difference to the Burns Unit and the children we sometimes rescue. I’m changing mine next week – I know that it would be hugely appreciated and make an enormous difference if everybody did the same. If you don’t already contribute, now is the time to start!

Australian Government USAR funding
Yesterday I represented NSW at a high level meeting in Adelaide to discuss possible Australian Government funding assistance to increase our national USAR capability. This is something that I have been pushing for a number of years, and which our Premier, Bob Carr, has supported. It is pleasing to report that it is likely that the smaller states and territories may soon receive some much needed support to develop USAR capabilities, and that the “Big Three” (NSW, Qld and Vic) may also receive some funding support for our USAR programs.

Trangie debutantes ball
I am heading out to Trangie this weekend to attend my very first debutantes ball! They tell me that the debutantes are nervous – well so am I. Being born and bred in the city, I wasn’t sure what to expect, however Anne Kelly, wife of our Minister, gave me some useful tips. I’m looking forward to meeting the firefighters at Trangie and other community members.

Remembrance Day
Yesterday, Thursday 11 November, was Remembrance Day, commemorating the signing of the Armistice which ended the hostilities of World War I. At 1100 hours on 11 November 1918, the guns of the western front fell silent after more than four years of continuous warfare which left between 9 and 13 million dead, as many as one third of them with no known grave. It was a timely reminder of the horrors of war, and an opportunity to think of those who served to protect us, including many firefighters.

Farewell Insp Ray Manser
My old friend and Inspector Zone North 4, Ray Manser, retired yesterday after a total of 38 years as a Retained Firefighter, and two stints as a permanent firefighter with the NSWFB, following service as a firefighter in the UK. Ray has always been dedicated 100% to the NSWFB and to developing people through the Institution of Fire Engineers. I wish he and Christine a long, happy and healthy retirement.

First Aid in the nick of time

When 215 Barraba FF Michael Chester attended a first aid course at 452 Tamworth last Sunday, he had no idea how important these new skills would be.

On Sunday evening, as he, his wife Shelley, and children Chloe and Dylan, were returning to Barraba, their car collided with a vehicle that had ignored a stop sign. FF Chester managed to free himself from the wreckage and assess the condition of his family members, using the skills he learnt that day.

To FF Chester’s relief, his colleagues from 215 Barraba arrived on the scene and assisted with the removal of his wife, who was trapped in the vehicle. FF Chester, Shelley and Chloe were transported to hospital where his wife and daughter remain. However, they are making a good recovery.

FF Chester wanted me to pass on his thanks to his colleagues for the compassion and professionalism they displayed at the incident, and all the support his family has received since. Supt Steve Pearce also received a fax from the Barraba Ambulance Officers who were first on scene, praising the professionalism of the Barraba fire crew.

Compartment Fire Behaviour Training milestone
Congratulations to SO John McDonough and his team of instructors, who have completed every Platoon in the greater Sydney area. There are some people who have missed out on this world class training, so there is continued training to pick up the stragglers. The focus is now on the country, and we are working hard to establish a training venue for North 3, 4 and 7.

Plans are now well progressed for Level 2 training, which will deal more with strategies and tactics. CFBT is now the backbone of our practical skills training, and I am committed to its continuation.

2004 Recruitment Campaign

The next permanent firefighter recruitment campaign will commence on Saturday 20 November 2004, and will be advertised in major Sydney newspapers, selected regional newspapers and Aboriginal and ethnic newspapers.

I expect a very strong response from the campaign and encourage staff involved in community activities and those serving at local fire stations to discuss their work role and career opportunities as firefighters with members of the public. For the first time in this campaign we are using online applications, so people interested in applying will need access to the internet and an email address.

Don’t be a firebug campaign
This week the NSWFB and the RFS began a campaign called Don’t be a firebug, that aims to discourage motorists from dropping cigarettes from car windows, and potentially starting a bushfire. It rained on our parade, so to speak, and the media announcement for the campaign was cancelled on Monday, but I’m the last to complain about the rain.

Campaign bumper stickers have been sent to every fire station to place on NSWFB vehicles, such as the Operational Commander’s vehicle, but not on appliances. They can also be given to the public.

A template media release and photo ideas are available on the intranet to help you promote the issue in your local community.

Online newspaper clippings
It appears not everyone is aware that stories about the work of the NSWFB are available on the intranet. Each day newspaper stories and radio and television story newslines (descriptions) are posted to the intranet. Metropolitan newspaper stories are available on the same day, but some regional and suburban stories may appear several days after publication.

You can access the Media Clips under ‘What’s New’ on the intranet home page.

Johnny Warren’s Funeral
A State funeral for the late John Norman (Johnny) Warren will be held at St Andrews Cathedral, George Street, Sydney, on Monday, 15 November 2004, commencing at 1200 hours.

As a mark of respect, flags are to be flown at half-mast at all occupied NSWFB Stations and establishments from 0800 hours until sunset on Monday, 15 November 2004.

Toastmasters honour
Congratulations to John O’Donnell, from Properties Section, who competed against the best of the best in the State and took first place in the Toastmasters District 70 ‘Humorous Speech’ Contest. Whoever thought Property could be so funny…

Commissioner’s e-mail:
Cora Sarmiento, Commish’s PA:
9265 2930
fax 9265 2882
Commish’s Corner Rumour Mill:
9265 2627

To contribute a story, please contact Public Affairs Officers:
Stephen Norris (West) 9265 2613, Natalie Laharnar (North) 9265 2631 or John Suter Linton/Tippy Kavalee (South) 9265 2802