and professional” firefighters win Police awards
sincerest congratulations to seven of our firefighters who
have received Commander’s Commendations from the NSW
Police Crime Command, for their “bravery and
professionalism.” The awards were made for their actions
in the Police’s Strike Force Baracchi, which investigated
the circumstances surrounding the fire and explosion at a
Rozelle convenience store in 2014. Three people died and
three were injured.
Police State Crime Commander, Assistant Commissioner Mark
Jenkins’ Commendations were made to Station Officer
Bradley Giersch of 042 Ryde, Station Officer Adam Standfield
of 039 Randwick, Senior Firefighter Chris Lyons, Senior
Firefighter Mark Thompson and Firefighter Warren Whillier
all of 01 City of Sydney, Firefighter Dane Bastable 018
Glebe Qualified Firefighter Adrian Child 038 Pyrmont. For
more details see the intranet
visits fire stations
Minister, the Hon. Troy Grant MP, Minister for Emergency
Services, has been very busy over the past weeks visiting
fire stations and handing over new trucks. Recent visits
include 26 Mascot, 38 Pyrmont, 41 Smithfield, 277 Dapto, 241
Bulli and 056 Matraville.
Minister, who has a background with emergency services, is
eager to engage with firefighters and listen and learn more
roadmaps launched to provide strategic direction
roadmaps provide strategic direction and support FRNSW
operations in a changing environment. They are developed
through consultation across all areas of the organisation.
The Rescue Roadmap was launched in 2015 and has already
delivered on some of the projects outlined in the 2015/16
period. The Incident Management, Hazmat and Firefighting
roadmaps were recently released and outline objectives to
Incident Management Roadmap brings together a review of our
current capability and the drivers for change over the
coming five years, including climate change, social media,
technology for firefighters and mobile apps.
Hazmat Roadmap aims to increase our capability, with a
particular emphasis on training, developing partnerships
with industry and other agencies, and keeping up with
emerging worldwide trends.
Firefighting Roadmap breaks the core functions of
firefighting into six separate but intertwined areas,
beginning with structure fires and increasing in complexity.
The roadmap presents an integrated whole of agency plan for
maintaining and improving firefighting capability over the
next five years.
begin of residential sprinkler systems
has begun tests of two types of residential sprinkler
systems, prompted by the death of a young woman and serious
injury of another who leapt from a fifth-floor Bankstown
apartment to escape a fire in September 2012. The building
did not have sprinklers. At the resulting inquest, the
Coroner’s recommendations canvassed sprinkler systems in
typical apartment layout like the Bankstown unit in which
the fire broke out is being used by FRNSW in a series of 10
weekly research tests at the CSIRO’s fire safety services
facility at North Ryde. The tests are a side by side
comparison of two types of sprinkler systems to determine
the efficacy of one against the other. For more information,
see the intranet
Women’s Network launched on International Women’s Day
Monday 6 March, International Women’s Day 2017 was
fittingly marked by the launch of FRNSW’s Women’s
Network. The network aims to connect women across the
organisation, enabling new and experienced staff to share
information, help improve service delivery and culture and
support each other.
the International Women’s Day function, it was my pleasure
to welcome our guest speakers, guests and staff to our new
headquarters, but I have to say it was shameful to note that
the gender gap is not expected to close until 2186 –
that’s almost 170 years away.
and Firefighting Australia (WAFA) Board member Michelle
Engelsman, SO Sally Foote of 257 Coffs Harbour and NSW State
Emergency Services Assistant Commissioner Kaylene Jones each
spoke of their own wealth of experiences. A key theme was
how they have overcome ingrained attitudes against women in
the workplace, and balanced their family lives and careers.
FRNSW Assistant Commissioner Janet Ruecroft officially
launched the FRNSW Women’s Network before Diversity
Coordinator Sonja Braidner praised the courage, tenacity and
resilience of women.
you to all the speakers and to the Diversity Unit for
ensuring another successful International Women’s Day
Director Governance and Legal Office
month, Catherine O’Mallon was appointed to the position of
Director Governance & Legal Office. She brings extensive
experience and knowledge to this position. Catherine was
formerly Assistant Director Audit & Risk with Transport
for NSW. Prior to this, she served as Manager Corporate
Governance with the City of Sydney Council; and before that,
worked in State and local government both in NSW and
Victoria in the areas of governance, risk management and
is returning to FRNSW, having worked with many of you on a
variety of initiatives. We welcome Catherine back and look
forward to working with her again.
RFS clear winners in Uralla
the past weekend, 475 Uralla played host to the first
Regional Firefighter Championships for 2017. Acting Deputy
Commissioner Gerry Byrne and I were delighted to attend
these championships at Hampden Park, which saw more than 100
firefighters from 25 teams from as far afield as Broken Hill
and Bega compete in 11 events. At the end of day 1,
Kootingal RFS led by almost 600 points with Bega and
Armidale in second and third place. Following a hotly
contested second day, the top places remained the same with
Kootingal clear winners on 1,616 points, Bega second on 873
and Armidale third with 702 points. The Armidale Brigade
were also awarded the Director’s Sportsmanship and Safety
Award. Congratulations to all competitors and to the Uralla
Brigade for a fantastic display of skill and team spirit.
the black dog on the Larapinta Trail
is proven that regular exercise has benefits not only for
your physical wellbeing but also your mental health. With
that in mind, two firefighters from Metro West have taken
things even further and are on a mission to raise money and
awareness for the Black Dog Institute to help research and
support for PTSD, anxiety and depression.
Sarah Nicholas from 71 Castle Hill and SF Terry Nicholas
from 94 Kellyville are planning to walk 223km along the
Larapinta Trail in the Northern Territory over three weeks
while carrying everything they need on their backs. Sarah
and Terry hope that the trek, which starts on 21 April, will
help other firefighters and members of the community realise
that they are not alone and highlight ways in which they can
access support. They are kicking off fundraising with a
trivia night at the Castle Hill Bowling Club on Sunday 2
has a strong partnership with the Black Dog Institute and
with the assistance of Dr Sam Harvey and his team, has
implemented several evidence-based programs, including
RESPECT and FITMIND. For more information about Sarah and
Terry’s challenge and the health and wellbeing resources
available to you, see the intranet
involved in the NSW Seniors Festival
NSW Seniors Festival, formerly NSW Seniors Week, runs from
3–12 March with hundreds of events happening State-wide.
With the 2017 theme of ‘let’s do more together’, I
encourage you to get involved. Many fire stations are
already attending local community events to promote the
importance of home fire safety and engage with this at-risk
group. Sadly, older people are overrepresented in fire
injury and fatality statistics with 1 in 2 fire deaths in
the last five years aged 65 and over.
more information about the NSW Seniors Festival or to find
an event in your station area, visit www.nswseniorsfestival.com.au.
If you require assistance with an event, contact the
Community Engagement Unit at email@example.com
or go to the Community Safety Toolkits on the intranet to
learn more about Senior
Ed resources. To celebrate this year’s Seniors
Festival, FRNSW’s Community Engagement Unit is providing
all stations with updated Senior Ed materials including a
DVD and fire engine USB to attach to station keys.
for diversity at Mardi Gras
has again shown its commitment to inclusion with its 12th
year of participation in Sydney’s Gay and Lesbian Mardi
Gras Parade, on Saturday 4 March.
the weather wasn’t the best, our contingent of 100
firefighters, admin staff, trades and CFU members were
cheered on by an estimated 300,000 people. Our group,
including Deputy Commissioner Graeme Finney and Assistant
Commissioner Mark Whybro, started the evening at City of
Sydney Fire Station, where preparations included a 45-minute
rehearsal in the gym.
year FRNSW participants danced to a routine and playlist
specially choreographed by Matt Hourigan, Adam Haynes and
Melissa Hayes from Sydney Youth Musical Theatre (SYMT). My
sincere thanks to SYMT Theatre President, FRNSW Occupational
Health Advisor Chrissy Strickland and all staff involved
behind the scenes in making our Mardi Gras parade one of the
Open Day – the countdown begins
year’s Open Day will be held on Saturday 20 May (D Platoon
at permanent stations). Open Day provides a great
opportunity for the public to see what FRNSW do, meet their
firefighters and learn more about fire safety in the home.
has been touted as one of the most successful Open Day’s
ever with more than 120,000 members of the public visiting
the participating 335 fire stations. This year, Open Day
will follow the same formula with Community Engagement (CEU)
and Media & Communications (MCU) working together to
provide the tools and information to make your station’s
day a success. If your station does NOT want to participate
in Open Day for 2017, please ensure you email and advise firstname.lastname@example.org.
Open Day crowds growing every year, admin staff are
encouraged to contact their local station to offer an extra
pair of hands if you have a couple of hours to spare. For
more information and resources see the intranet
decs for carer’s leave applications by Permanent
for carer’s leave are debited in hours (not shifts) and
should only be taken for the time that you are required to
provide care. Permanent Firefighters are reminded that when
submitting a statutory declaration in support of a carer’s
leave application, it must have been signed in front of an
authorised witness. In NSW, an authorised witness is a
Justice of the Peace, Australian legal practitioner
(solicitor/barrister), or any person authorised to
administer an oath pursuant to the NSW Oaths Act 1900.
This requirement differs to the Commonwealth statutory
declaration procedures which allow other types of people to
witness statutory declarations. Statutory declarations are
subject to review and will not support a claim for carer's
leave if they are incorrectly completed. Commissioner’s
Orders 2012/26 contains the pro-forma statutory
declaration to be used exclusively for carer’s leave
applications. Thank you for your cooperation with this
guest speaker for Harmony Day
Day is a national celebration of our cultural diversity –
a day of cultural respect for everyone who calls Australia
home. Held every year on 21 March, it coincides with the
United Nations International Day for the Elimination of
actively participates in Harmony Day in support of our
growing diverse community. This year we are fortunate to be
joined by the Executive Director of the Community
Migrant Resource Centre, Melissa Monterio, as a guest
speaker at our Greenacre headquarters on Tuesday 21 March at
9.30am. Ms Monterio has managed the Community Migrant
Resource Centre, a not for profit community organisation
based in Parramatta providing settlement services to
refugees and humanitarian entrants, for the past 15 years.
are welcome to attend, in addition if there is a Harmony Day
event close to your station, I encourage you to make contact
with the organisers and attend. For more information visit www.harmony.gov.au.
day of family fun at the Penrith Working Truck Show
and many volunteer supporters will come together at the
Museum of Fire on Sunday 19 March to stage the 30th annual
Working Truck Show. Entry includes a huge selection of free
rides, free fairy floss, free face painting and live
entertainment, including country rocks stars Adam Harvey,
Beccy Cole and many more. Adult tickets are $35, including
free entry for up to three children. Concession tickets are
$25 (single person entry only). All rides, entertainment,
activities and exhibits inside the show are free, including
entry to the Museum of Fire.
a not for profit registered charity, our heritage partner
relies on this major annual fundraiser to continue to care
for and share our fire service history and to educate
families about fire safety. All staff are encouraged to
support the museum and head to Penrith for what is sure to
be a fun community event. The museum is located beside
Penrith Railway Station and there is plenty of free parking
on site. For more information visit www.pwts.com.au.
you considered a Churchill Fellowship?
for Churchill Fellowships are now being accepted and will
close on 28 April 2017. Fellowships, valued at around
$26,000, provide airfares and up to eight weeks overseas
living allowance to enable research projects of benefit to
the Australian community.
are no prescribed qualifications, academic or otherwise.
Selection is based on merit of the research project,
combined with the applicant's past achievements or a
demonstrated ability for future achievement. To be
successful, a proposed research project must be able to
demonstrate a benefit to the wider Australian community (not
just an internal benefit to FRNSW).
employees from all areas of the department, including
firefighters, administrative and trade staff may apply for a
Fellowship in relation to any area of study whether fire and
rescue industry related or not.
completion of travel a Fellow is required to submit an
extensive report of findings to the Winston Churchill
Memorial Trust. If you have been granted leave on full pay
for a fire industry related research project then a copy of
the report must also be submitted to FRNSW.
Fellowships are highly competitive and if anyone would like
to discuss the application process further please contact
Superintendent Ian Krimmer, President of the NSW Churchill
Fellows Association on 9265 2948. For more information visit
Alarm factory fire at Chullora
0921hrs on Thursday 23 February 2017, Fire Comms received
the first of many Triple Zero calls to what was to become
one of the state’s largest structure fires for quite some
time. A fire that had commenced in a waste transfer and
disposal facility in Muir Road at Chullora and as soon as 62
Bankstown left their station they could already see the huge
plume of smoke that was quickly expanding as the fire took
hold. They initially called for a 2nd alarm response whilst
enroute and when they arrived only 5 minutes later the size
of the developing situation became quickly apparent and they
immediately raised the response level to a 5th Alarm.
the site management were quickly able to confirm that
everyone was accounted for and arriving crews could
concentrate on firefighting activities. A staging area was
established in the front carpark and 70mm hose lines were
immediately deployed in Sectors Bravo and Delta in a
quickly became obvious that the factory complex had a
massive fuel loading of paper, carboard, plastics and
carpeting and the 100m x 70m complex became fully involved.
There were fears that LPG cylinders inside, together with a
large diesel fuel storage tank and an electrical high
voltage kiosk would become involved. A nearby factory also
came under threat and the response was raised to an 8th
supplies soon became a major issue as the internal water
storage facility became exhausted. The Hytrans was responded
and an extensive water relay was established from
surrounding streets with the response being raised to a 10th
Alarm to provide the additional resources required. Multiple
streets around the factory complex, including Brunker Road,
Rookwood Road and several lanes of the Hume Highway were
closed to enable hose lines to be stretched from surrounding
I arrived on site, parts of the factory roof had collapsed
and several external walls had become unstable requiring a
collapse zone to be established around the perimeter of the
building. The huge pall of smoke was visible across the
entire metropolitan area and both the nearby Bankstown
Airport, together with Sydney Airport were placed on alert
for the massive smoke haze. The RPAS (drones) and pilot were
also responded to the scene to assist in providing aerial
surveillance of the huge factory area.
TAF20 (firefighting robot) together with bulk foam supples
were delivered to the site and played a major role in
bringing the fire under control. Hazmat crews were kept busy
for several days monitoring the smoke plume and water
run-off. Fortunately, the factory was located within an
industrial area and there was no need for any major
evacuations throughout the lengthy operations although
several health warnings were issued during the operation
advising nearby residents to close their windows and doors.
wasn’t until 2012hrs, nearly 11 hours later, that crews
could report that the fire was finally contained although
numerous hot spots were still active throughout the complex.
A 4th Alarm fire duty was maintained overnight and an
excavator was brought in the following morning to begin the
task of pulling apart the smouldering mass of waste debris.
Crews were to remain on scene for a further 6 days until the
final stop message was sent the following week at 1223hrs on
fire highlighted the advances we have seen in recent years
with many of our latest technologies all being deployed to
the one fireground. This was the first major incident in our
history where we have simultaneously deployed (and used) our
new Mobile Command Centre (MCC), Hytrans, TAF20, RPAS and
wish to extend my congratulations to the many hundreds of
firefighters and officers who attended the lengthy incident.
Although the factory complex was destroyed, the fire was
contained to the original site and given the almost heat
wave conditions on the first day of the fire I was impressed
with the work of all firefighters involved with only one
firefighter sustaining a minor injury during the protracted
Alarm fire at Katoomba RSL
1332hrs on Friday 25 February, 343 Katoomba and 361 Leura
were responded to reports of a fire at the Katoomba RSL Club
in Lurline Street, Katoomba. 343 Katoomba were quickly on
scene within 7 minutes and reported that large quantities of
smoke was issuing from the rear of the club building. Staff
reported that all 40 staff members and guests had been
evacuated quickly and safely from the building. It appears
the fire may had started in the kitchen area and quickly
spread to the roof area.
response was soon raised to a 5th Alarm as the fire took
hold of the rear half of the single level structure. An
adjoining residential building came under threat as crews
deployed protective sprays to protect the exposures. The
nearby Katoomba Primary School was placed into lock down
with school staff instructed to keep windows shut and
children indoors to avoid exposure to smoke.
aerials were deployed at the front and rear of the building
as the surrounding streets were closed down. One large wall
in Sector A threatened to collapse and crews were withdrawn
to a safe distance. At the height of the fire an electrical
storm impacted the area and firefighters had to retract the
two aerial appliances for fear that they may attract
lightning strikes, however the storm quickly moved away and
the aerial attack was able to recommence.
two hours, crews successfully brought the fire under control
and reported that the rear 50% of the club had been
destroyed by the fire. Being an RSL Club attention turned to
retrieving historic memorabilia within the club premises.
There were some initial concerns that the club had a display
including World War 1 and 2 ordinance devices. The
assistance of the Police Bomb Squad was sought to ensure
that the armaments had been properly decommissioned before
they could be removed from the structure. Several medals and
other important historic paraphernalia were removed,
although, sadly, many of the items were severely damaged by
fire duty was maintained overnight and attended to several
major flare ups. The site was finally handed over to Police
at 1056hrs the following morning and the cause of the fire
is still under investigation.
There is talk that two of the recruit classes for 2017 have
been cancelled due to a lack of potential female recruits,
and the need to achieve parity. Is this the case?
this is not the case. FRNSW is funded by the Government for
a specific number of firefighters and planning for recruits
to commence at the State Training College is estimated using
historical trends of retirements and separations from our
organisation. Currently the number of exits from both
resignations and retirements is lower than normal trends. It
may appear that many firefighters are happy with 24-hour
shifts and are postponing their retirement.
authorised for the first class of this year to be delayed
and it commenced at the college on 21 February. It is
anticipated by our workforce planning models that we will
need an additional 40 recruits this year. If we get a larger
number of retirements later in year we have the flexibility
of adding another recruit class.