2019 off to a huge start – QFES Legislative Review; Remedial Action on Bushfire Firefighting Coats; Bushfire Review and P3 Masks for wide distribution to brigades.

Wednesday, 2 Jan 2019

QFES Legislative Review
 
The RFBAQ has met with the Legislative Review team leader prior to the drafting of the Terms of Reference.
 
The initial meeting the RFBAQ had regarding proposed amendments to the Fire Act 1990 was in February 2016 and there had been regular and detailed correspondence since.
 
A quick synopsis of the RFBAQ position is that there be a new term to replace ‘Fire Officer’ and “Fire Service Officer’ and that be “Emergency Officer’.
 
Emergency Officers can be Full Time, Part Time or Volunteer.
 
This has been one of the RFBAQ’s six key strategies since 2014.
 
To ensure Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) is well positioned to continue to meet the existing and emerging needs of the community, it is important to question the effectiveness of the legislation that supports and guides our operations. For example:
  • Does the legislation reflect contemporary practice?
  • Is the purpose of QFES accurately stated?
  • Does the legislation limit the ability of QFES to be innovative and grow?
A team has now been established within the department to undertake the ground work necessary to inform the state government’s consideration as to the necessity for a review and, if required, reform QFES legislation.
 
The team will be reviewing the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1990; Fire and Emergency Services Regulation 2011; Disaster Management Act 2003 and Disaster Management Regulation 2014 and a number of other Acts that impact on the way QFES does business.
 
Your views are critical to helping us understand whether the current legislation is meeting the needs of the department and the community, now and into the future.
 
The legislation team is keen to hear from you, including what you think is working well and where there are opportunities to improve the legislation.
 
A mailbox has now been set up so you can have your say. Suggestions can be as simple as highlighting the uncertainty of a section in the legislation, to a more complex proposal for change. A survey has also been developed should you need some guidance about the types of issues that the legislation team is interested in hearing about.
 
The survey will be open until 25 January 2018. The mailbox will remain open for the duration of the review. The information received through the survey is critical as it will inform the development of a discussion paper for wider distribution.
 
About your privacy
 
QFES is bound by the Information Privacy Act 2009.
 
The information you provide will only be used for the purpose of informing the QFES Legislative Review. We will not share your name or contact details with anyone without your consent.
 
This consultation is an internal QFES process; however, please be aware that any comments you provide may be used and published online or elsewhere and may be transmitted outside of Australia. You may wish to bear this in mind when providing your comments.
 
Survey
 
Have your say on what you would like to see changed in the QFES legislative framework via the survey.
 
 
Please note that responses submitted via the survey will be limited to 255 words for each question. If you would prefer to make a longer submission, please email your response to:
 
Legislative.Review@qfes.qld.gov.au
 
Regards,
 
Adam Stevenson
 
Executive Director
 
Executive, Ministerial and Corporate Services
 
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services
 
Remedial Action on Bushfire Firefighting Coats
 
Please read the new info sheet on new coats, coats in stores and what you can do with your affected existing coat. There is also a safety alert and media release from September 2018 when this potential safety risk became evident.
 
Bushfire Review
 
 
If you are a Rural Fire Brigade that fights the fire or a landholder who owns the fire or a community affected by fire, please participate in this review.
 
The RFBAQ has written requesting the Terms of Reference for the review and that the time for submissions be extended from 25th January as the internal QFES debrief process and collation of information does not expect to be completed until Monday 21st January. This would then leave no time for the RFBAQ to consider the completed report that is from the QFES debriefs and then consult with the elected Rural Fire Brigade Representatives and write our submission.
 
As many brigades, landholders and communities are in the process of recovering from bushfire and we appear to be going straight into an active cyclone season that will also be very taxing on brigades, landholders and communities; would it not be more inclusive to have the time for submissions extended to the end of cyclone season? 
 
P3 Masks for wide distribution to brigades.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
  • What are the benefits of the new masks?
The P3 facemask provides a higher level of protection than what is currently specified in the Australian Standard. Rural Fire Brigades (RFB) currently use P2 facemasks in combination with goggles. P2 facemasks filter approximately 93% of the particulates that are in the atmosphere during a fire and meet the requirements of the Australian Standards for P2 facemasks. This is the national standard used in all other Australian jurisdictions. P3 masks filter 99.95% of particulates. The filters QFES use are a type of Particulate, Organic Vapours and Formaldehyde (POVF) filter as studies have shown a reduction in respiratory (irritant) symptoms using POVF filters in bushfire smoke.
 
  • Are firefighters who use the P2 masks in danger?
The P2 facemask currently in use by RFBs complies with the Australian and New Zealand standard for respiratory protective devices. Throughout the feasibility trial and evaluation process QFES has maintained its duty of care to personnel by providing the Australian standard for respiratory protection. The P3 facemask will add an additional layer of protection in circumstances where an enhanced level of respiratory protection may be considered appropriate. The P2 mask will continue to be provided as a vital piece of frontline respiratory protection for bushfire and mitigation burning operations.
 
  • Which brigades were involved in the trial?
Twenty-three RFBs have been trained using the P3 facemasks, including four in Brisbane Region, four is South East Region, three in South West region, three in Central region, three in North Coast region, three in Northern Region, and three in Far Northern Region.
 
  • When and how will the masks be rolled-out?
A phased roll-out will commence in 2019, complemented with comprehensive and ongoing training and maintenance support. QFES will adopt a risk-based approach to distributing the masks to ensure those who most need them will receive the equipment as a priority.
 
  • How long will it take to roll-out?
QFES will move quickly on this because our people are our priority. Our personnel can rest assured they will be well supported during the roll-out.
 
  • What do we need to do about cleaning & maintenance facilities?
It is acknowledged that Rural Fire Brigades are accommodated in locations with varying levels of facilities across Queensland. As part of the trial, options were evaluated for locations with limited facilities and QFES will provide the required equipment/facility upgrades on a case by case basis for each brigade as part of the implementation program.

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