increases for Permanent and Retained Firefighters
am pleased to advise that following representation from FRNSW, the NSW
Government has made 2.5% pay increases available to FRNSW permanent
and retained firefighters for each year, over the next three years.
Thursday last week the Industrial Relations Commission confirmed that
the pay increases would be paid effective from 17 February 2017, which
means the 2.5% increase will appear in the next fortnightly pay. I
would like to thank all those involved in gaining this well-deserved
pay rise for firefighters.
Commissioner meets with new Commissioner
had the pleasure of meeting with Commissioner Baxter in Wellington,
New Zealand yesterday. Together with Chief Superintendent Dave Felton,
Commissioner’s Chief of Staff, we provided an overview of current
matters and had an opportunity to generally discuss the strategic
direction of FRNSW. Commissioner Baxter, who has also been busy
dealing with bushfires in and around Christchurch and is extremely
eager to commence his upcoming appointment in what he described as
“an extremely progressive and well regarded fire service”.
Gerry Cannon’s astonishing contribution
Saturday night I was honoured to attend a special function in Tamworth
to farewell FRNSW’s longest serving firefighter, Tamworth Captain
Gerry Cannon. His retirement concludes an extraordinary personal
contribution to the people of NSW. Gerry joined NSW Fire Brigades as
an 18 year old in January 1957 and has been a member of 452 Tamworth
Brigade for his whole career.
his career, Gerry has responded to thousands of fires, rescues, and
hazardous materials incidents, and he performed hundreds of community
safety activities. To mark his unparalleled 60 years of service, on 17
January Gerry was presented with an unprecedented 5th clasp to his
FRNSW Long Service and Good Conduct Medal.
you, Gerry, and your family which has supported you, for your long
years of dedication. Enjoy a long, healthy and rewarding retirement.
For more information and a video of Gerry’s story, see the intranet
Women’s Day special guest speakers
will host its annual International Women’s Day event at our brand
new headquarters in Greenacre on Monday 6 March. As we embrace this
year’s theme: "Be bold for change", I am pleased to
announce we have secured a great selection of speakers from across
FRNSW. We are also privileged to be joined by keynote speaker
Assistant Commissioner Kaylene Jones from the State Emergency
Services. Please join me and the Diversity Unit in Training Room 1
(the Lowther room) at 12.30pm for what promises to be an engaging
event which builds on last year’s International Women’s Day
‘Pledge for Parity’.
lasting legacy for Operational Communications
Friday we wished Superintendent Peter Levett well with a Guard of
Honour as he left the Communications Centre at Alexandria for the last
time to begin a period of long service leave before his retirement in
Levett started his Brigade career at Pyrmont Fire Station 32 years
ago, and worked his way up to the rank of Superintendent, gaining
experience in a broad range of roles. He has been invaluable in
Operational Communications over the last five years – in particular
ensuring that some 37,000 response rules were successfully implemented
into the ESCAD system. Peter was also instrumental in the restructure
of the Operational Communications Centres for which he was awarded a
Unit Commendation for Meritorious Service. Prior to Operational
Communications, Peter spent four years as Manager Operational
Personnel and was responsible for implementing SAM to automate the
daily provision of operational staff.
is now going off to the next phase in his life, but will always be a
member of our FRNSW family. I thank Peter and his wife Coral for their
many years of outstanding service and support and wish him a long and
and QFES strengthen cross-border fire response
Friday, FRNSW Northern Rivers Zone Commander, Superintendent Greg
Lewis, and QFES Chief Superintendent, Brad Commens met at Point
Danger, Coolangatta to mark the signing of a new formal agreement
between the two agencies.
new Memorandum of Understanding and Mutual Aid Agreement, which
formalises an arrangement already in place, allows resources from both
NSW and QLD to be instantly mobilised across the border in response to
major structural fires and other emergencies.
Commanders were joined by crews from Tweed Heads and Bilinga fire
stations representing the Tweed Coast-Coolangatta border communities.
For more information, see the intranet
Kids Champion Competition to launch State-wide
month FRNSW will launch a new competition to help promote fire safety
to young children. The State-wide Brigade Kids Champion Competition
encourages kids in Kindergarten, Year 1 and Year 2 to submit a poster
design that communicates one of three key fire safety messages.
Together with a panel of judges, I will help select winners and
runners up in each of the three age categories and one overall winner.
As well as fantastic prizes (thanks to partners Xbox, Lego and
Scholastic) for all winners and runners up, the overall winner will
have their design turned into a poster to be used at every fire
station on Open Day.
knowing how to react properly to fire is so important, and
particularly for youngsters, I ask that everyone in FRNSW really get
behind it and promote it in their communities. Whether you’re
conducting a FireED or other community engagement with your crew, have
a child in K-2 or know a K-2 teacher, this is your chance to help
teach kids how to be a Brigade Champion.
Brigade Kids Champion Competition will run from 13 March to 23 April,
with the winners announced on 4 May. For more information, see the intranet
John Bevan named Citizen of the Year
to Captain John Bevan of 367 Stn Lightning Ridge on being named
Walgett Shire Council’s Citizen of the Year at its Australia Day
awards. The recognition was for more than 30 years of service by John
to the communities of Lightning Ridge and Walgett.
is held in high regard throughout the State, but it is always special
when a community confers its unique recognition. John is also regarded
highly in RW1 Zone for the high level of training and management of
the Lightning Ridge crew and its consistent fine record of recruitment
and retention, often a problem in isolated areas.
was pleasing to learn that John first got interested in the
possibility of being a firefighter when he visited 048 Stn Mortdale as
a 12-year-old. Hopefully we will have more begin a similar interest at
this year’s Open Day on 20 May.
‘parity’ class continues to shape our history
21 February FRNSW’s second 50/50 recruit class commenced 13 weeks of
intensive training at the State Training College. The class of 12
female and 13 male recruits will continue FRNSW’s 2016 Pledge for
Parity. Class 1/2017 includes five ex-retained firefighters, an
ambulance officer, former military personnel, tradies, teachers, a
tour guide, twin brothers and FRNSW’s first female Indigenous
permanent firefighter recruits.
secure Password Policy being rolled out
more stringent Password Policy is now being implemented throughout
FRNSW to ensure our information assets are protected from malicious
attack. It will be progressively rolled out between 28 February and 29
May. As specific areas in FRNSW become affected, they will be notified
of the changes and how staff will be affected.
will now be required to be renewed every six months. As they are about
to expire, individuals will be notified, with a reminder of the
required complexity standard.
should be noted that operational staff with the rank of Inspector and
below are unaffected – unless they do decide to update their
passwords. They then must meet the new complexity criteria. For more
information, see Commissioner’s
Orders 2017/03 and the intranet
great incident photos? Send them to the Media Unit
say a picture tells a thousand words and nothing could be more true in
our 24hr-news, social-media focused world. One of the best ways for
FRNSW to tell the community what we’re doing is by sharing images
and video on our social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. FRNSW
posts are often shared by major news organisations, increasing our
reach and coverage exponentially. While you should never give priority
to taking photographs over your operational responsibilities, if you
have an opportunity to safely capture stills pictures or video please
send it, as soon as practically possible, to email@example.com.
headquarters open for business
am pleased to announce our new headquarters at 1 Amarina, Greenacre is
now open for business. The move to our new building and transition to
activity based working has run very smoothly and I would like to thank
the 1 Amarina project team for their hard work and dedication on this
momentous project. I would also like to thank the leaders, managers
and all staff for embracing this change with such positivity and
dedication. There has been such a great vibe in our new headquarters.
I’ve been particularly impressed to see employees at all levels of
the organisation moving around to work in the various work spaces,
whether it be a quiet area, collaborative zone or even the coffee
shop, No. 9 Station. I encourage all staff to visit the new
headquarters and see our new way of working or join us for a coffee in
eLearning package goes live
specially designed eLearning package for CFU volunteers and FRNSW
staff was recently launched by the Community Fire Unit section. New
CFU members are now able to complete four theoretical modules online
– ‘Bushfire and the Influencing Factors’, ‘Pre-Bushfire Season
Preparation’, ‘During a Bushfire’ and ‘CFU Matters’ – to
improve the on-boarding process. CFU volunteer access is through the
CFU Members Portal, and for FRNSW it is via the Learning Hub.
CFU eLearning modules can be completed by applicants in their own time
over six months. When successfully completed, applicants must attend a
practical training session. Current CFU members are also are strongly
encouraged to view the CFU eLearning modules and refresh their
technical knowledge. I also encourage all FRNSW personnel to view and
complete the CFU eLearning package via the Learning Hub. It is a
valuable source of information on what skills and knowledge we provide
to CFU volunteers, and a handy tool to refresh your understanding of
bushfire behaviour. For more information or to provide feedback,
contact the CFU Team on 9895 4640 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bay excavator driver rescued from dam
1440hrs on Tuesday 7 February the crew from 295 Forster were called to
reports of a man trapped under an excavator that had rolled down an
embankment and overturned in Kookie Avenue, Charlotte Bay.
and Paramedics were already on scene as the crew from Forster arrived
and were confronted with a large excavator on its side and partly
submerged in a shallow muddy dam. They were amazed to notice the head
of the trapped driver sticking out from the muddy water, with just his
mouth and nose barely above the water level. Quick decisions had to be
made and it was determined that rather than lifting the excavator off
the trapped driver, firefighters would quickly dig under the trapped
driver to provide room for him to be pulled clear of the submerged
vehicle’s roll bar which was pinning the driver down.
immediately set about stabilising the excavator to prevent further
movement whilst other firefighters worked for around 30 minutes in
waste deep muddy water and used their hands to excavate around the
driver. RFS crews assisted by pumping water from the dam in attempt to
lower the water level. He was removed safely and handed over to
Paramedics who accompanied him in the Westpac Rescue Hospital to the
John Hunter Hospital suffering hypothermia and shock. Captain Paul
Langley described how the trapped driver had managed to keep his head
just above the water by arching his back and was adamant that he would
not have survived much longer if help had not arrived when it did.
Fortunately, a neighbour some 500 metres away had heard the driver’s
desperate calls for help and alerted emergency services.
incident attracted worldwide media attention, including a news item on
BBC Radio 5 with attending emergency workers being praised for their
efforts in saving the driver’s life. Well done to the Forster
firefighters for working quickly in difficult circumstances. For more
details and photos see the intranet
firefighters battle car wrecking yard fire in heatwave
deliberately lit grass fire in Orange became more than just a grass
fire when it spread to a car wrecking yard and impacted an adjoining
from 412 Orange received the original call at 1356hrs on Saturday 11
February. They responded to reports of a grass fire adjacent to the
RSPCA facility on William Street in Orange, but by the time they
arrived on scene the fire had spread to an adjoining car wrecking yard
with initially six cars involved in fire.
crews, including support from the RFS were immediately dispatched as
the fire quickly escalated and spread to 130 vehicles in the wrecking
yard. Huge volumes of thick black smoke were visible across the city
as a nearby high voltage electrical transformer also became involved.
The situation deteriorated further as local water supplies became
overrun. Firefighters had to work in heatwave conditions as additional
crews from Bathurst were called in to assist in the defensive
firefighting operation. RFS tankers supplied water until a water relay
was established from surrounding streets.
fire rapidly spread through the wrecking yard and numerous tyres and
several exploding LP gas cylinders hampered operations. The adjoining
RSPCA shelter soon came under threat and the decision was made to
evacuate as many animals as possible. Around 240 animals including
dogs, cats, guinea pigs, rabbits and three sheep were safely evacuated
by firefighters, RSPCA staff and members of the public.
took crews close to three hours to contain and extinguish both the
original grass fire and the wrecking yard fire. Due to excellent
defensive firefighting strategies, the RSPCA building escaped with
only minor damage. Congratulations to all attending firefighters for a
great effort, particularly given the heatwave conditions.
were called to investigate reports that a group of young people were
seen walking near the grass area where the fire was reported as
originally starting. A 13-year-old boy was subsequently arrested by
Police and charged with lighting the fire.
involved in massive Sydney storm recovery operations
Saturday 18 February, a series of storm cells swept across the Sydney
suburbs resulting in extensive hail damage to thousands of residential
and commercial buildings and numerous vehicles across Sydney. By
Sunday morning, the State Emergency Service (SES) advised they had
taken approximately 1,600 calls for assistance with occupants
reporting leaking and damaged roofs. The highest concentration of
damage appears to have occurred in the Baulkham Hills, Ku-ring-gai and
Warringah Pittwater regions of Sydney.
to the volume of calls, the SES requested assistance from FRNSW with
three Strike Teams formed and a Liaison Officer deployed to the SES
headquarters at Baulkham Hills on Saturday. Rescue pumper 71 attended
a retirement village in Old Glenhaven Road where around 80 villas had
suffered roof damage and leaking roofs with two inhabitable due to the
level of damage.
Sunday, the SES again requested the assistance of FRNSW and the RFS to
help in the large storm recovery process. FRNSW deployed its Remotely
Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) capability and rapid assessments were
completed across the Baulkham Hills area revealing those areas most
severely impacted. Given our aerial appliance capability and roof work
training, FRNSW has been tasked with providing temporary roof repair
and tarping to numerous properties of two levels and above. On Sunday,
Monday and Tuesday, FRNSW provided five strike teams each day to
provide assistance in the northwest suburbs of Sydney. At the time of
writing, several hundred repair tasks have been successfully completed
fortnight of significant bushfire activity
the past two weeks FRNSW has responded to many significant bushfire
incidents both within and outside of our fire districts. Our crews
have supported the RFS during a period of fire activity that the State
has not seen for some time.
of these significant bushfire incidents have threatened the life and
property of our communities. FRNSW has answered the call with support
from both an initial response of local resources and strategically
placed Strike Teams throughout the State. Our Regional and
Metropolitan Commands have provided incident management support in the
form of Liaison Officers and FRNSW Commanders who assisted in
providing a coordinated approach to the command and coordination
function. The FRNSW Strategic Operations Centre (SOC) and Bushfire
Incident Control Centre (BICC) have provided support and intelligence
to the Commands in conjunction with Operational Logistics and
of the more significant fires have included the Carwoola Fire in the
Queanbeyan-Palerang LGA, Sir Ivan Fire in the Warrumbungle LGA,
Papinburra Rd Fire in the Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA, Kains Flat Fire
in the Mid Western LGA, Boggabri Fire in the Narribri LGA, Red Hill
Road at Limekilns near Bathurst and Fig Tree Hill Drive at Lennox
RFS has calculated the losses of these recent fires at a total of 56
houses, two community buildings and 198 outbuildings destroyed.
Fortunately there has been no loss of life as a direct result of these
fires. To date, FRNSW has responded to 989 bush or grass incidents
Sir, I have heard that there is a problem with new boots, and several
of them have been removed because of zipper issues.
Magnum Vulcan Structure firefighting boot was made available from
November last year. Since then more than 300 pairs of boots have been
delivered to operational firefighters. Of those 300 pairs there have
been six reported malfunctions concerned with the zippers on the boot.
Three of those were in respect to the tab to pull up the zippers
coming off. The other three were incidents where the join in the
middle of the zipper split open. None of these resulted in any
injuries as the structure of the boot remained intact but a section of
the zipper opened.
six incidents was too many to accept as the quality we expect from our
PPC. In agreement with the manufacturer, a stronger more durable
zipper (No 8 YKK) has been sourced and will be used to replace the
current (No 5 YKK) zipper. This will eliminate both these problems.
those who have already received the Magnum Vulcan boot have been sent
the new No 8 zipper to fit into their boots and instructions to return
the No 5 zipper to Procurement at Greenacre. All boots in stock now
have the No 8 zippers added and all future boots supplied from the
manufacturer will come with No 8 zippers as part of the standard boot