Central West 41 Handover
Tuesday, 10 May 2022
Today Central West 41 was handed over by Assistant Commissioner Tony Johnstone to the 1st Officers of Muttaburra RFB, Illfracombe RFB and Jericho RFB.
The Rural Fire Brigades of Illfracombe, Muttaburra and Jericho cover the geographic centre of Queensland. Each brigade currently has a fire appliance for local town defence and local firefighting and the addition of a light attack will build capacity by allowing brigades to export capacity to a far larger area and support the surrounding brigades while maintaining town coverage.
The journey started 12 months ago when the brigades approached the RFBAQ to help them apply to the fire service for a reconditioned Nissan Patrol light attack similar to the vehicle going to Jundah RFB.
The 1st Officers and the RFBAQ approached Commissioner Greg Leach at RFSQ Summit in Cairns last year and the proposal was supported.
Following a series of ups and downs the vehicle was handed over at the Barcaldine RFSQ Area Office this morning.
The Barcaldine Area Office part time administration officer left in July last year and the office has not been open on a regular basis since. The RFBAQ and local brigades have been working to have the administration role made full time and to have a ATSO and Inspector returned. This would then help support the brigades west of the Drummond Range in meeting the upcoming fire seasons resulting from the fantastic rains much of the area have received.
The Barcaldine Office used to be fully staffed and over the last 7 years the roles have been progressively moved over to Emerald or the roles have been discontinued.
Also at the handover today was a reconditioned medium attack that will be based at the Fire & Rescue Station in Longreach. With many brigade members from brigades such as Illfracombe and Stonehenge working in Longreach, having a readily accessible fire truck will help get brigades to a fire more quickly.
Each of the three truck brigades at the handover today have Link Sticks and in a meeting following the handover between the 1st Officers, RFSQ Inspector, A. Commissioner and RFBAQ an ongoing programme of swap out was agreed to as the current sticks and gloves are out of date.
To have a staffing system that allows such critical community defence equipment to expire is a clear example of how having 1 RFSQ Inspector for 2 RFSQ Areas and 280 brigades is both unmanageable and unsafe.