Rural Community 1st Aid by RFS

Thursday, 22 Mar 2018

Community Defence is a Shared Responsibility -  A new QFES/RFBAQ initiative to grow total community resilience in the west.

Last year the RFBAQ asked members of Primary Producer Brigades a series of questions regarding their relationship with RFSQ and QFES at a series of events that would have a high proportion of PPB members.  This was undertaken at the Mareeba Field Day (every 2 years), FarmFest, Ag-Grow, Westech (every 3 years) and the Hungerford Field Day (every 2 years).

The questions were asked and responses noted by the RFBAQ to ensure that there was consistency in query and answer.

A section of the questionnaire related to training and the questions were written by RFSQ Insp. Clinton Newman to gauge training requirements and the type most needed. 1st Aid Training was the standout response.

Click images for larger version!



The next piece of work was to develop a process that ensured that RFB members in PPB brigades and surrounding truck brigades could access accredited 1st Aid Training that was accessible to them at a suitable time and place; engaged them with their local communities and increased total community resilience. This was also overlaid with the RFBAQ requirement to see the money spent on local brigades remain in the local community. This is complimentary to the broader collaborative Primary Producer Brigade Funding Co-operative Scheme being developed by RFBAQ with QFES / RFSQ.

At the Blackall Tambo Regional Council building in Blackall on Tuesday, RFSQ Chief Officer / Deputy Commissioner ESV, Mike Wassing discussed the concept of community first aid.

There is a simple and practical collective logic behind the programme. It sees the RFS not owning the training, rather that the RFS is the carriage service in the west. Many organisations in a town have a need to supply 1st Aid: Local government, sports clubs, bank employees, rural fire brigades and the like. Currently there is no cohesive system to ensure that these training opportunities are available across organisational boundaries.

This will also allow RFSQ paid staff to ensure that the brigade members have all the PPE and equipment that they need and assess the appetite for any additional training such as FMS, incident control or communication training. An added benefit is the knowledge ‘handshake’ that RFSQ paid staff will receive in local risk and fire behaviour.

To maintain the local connection, one of the requirements is that the training is supplied by an Registered Training Organisation that is registered in the shire, or adjoining shire that the training will be undertaken in. This then both keeps the money circulating locally and also ensures locals are training locals and embedding the concept of Shared Responsibility.

Why Rural Fire?

In 1954 there was a great fire tragedy where 3 volunteers from Sesbania Rural Fire Brigade died while firefighting. If you link through to the newspaper story you can see the effort made to try and preserve their lives.Story part 1, and part 2.

Hugh R.L. HALLORAN             Firefighter        Sesbania Rural Fire Brigade    14/11/1954
Reginald J.R. HALLORAN       Firefighter        Sesbania Rural Fire Brigade    16/11/1954
Robert R. BATTELEY              Firefighter        Sesbania Rural Fire Brigade    15/11/1954

Subsequent to this, Parliamentary Hansard in 1955 records the need for 1st Aid training to be supplied to primary producers and for Rural Fire to be the carriage organisation.

The RFBAQ also sees Rural Fire as the natural carriage organisation for this training, as not every town or settlement has a Police Station, Ambulance, Hospital or Fire and Rescue Station; but they are all covered by or surrounded by Rural Fire Brigades and brigade volunteers.

It is also very important to remember that 2018 is 100 years since the Saltern Creek, Willoughby and Rodney Downs stations fires where 7 men perished. They are not included on the honour roll as this was many years before the Rural Fires Boards were formed, the tragedy is still very much alive in the collective local memory. Read more here, and here.

What happens next

QFES training has been tasked and will report back to Mike Wassing on the potential rollout. The RFBAQ will continue to be involved in the developing and parameters of the project.

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