Page 1957 - Week 06 - Thursday, 9 June 2022

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building owners, and we are providing assistance to help private owners meet their safety responsibility. We do look forward to finalising and opening phase 2 of our financial assistance once we finalise the required procurement of a significant $50 million program.

This is a serious issue that has serious safety implications for the community. I would request that, in future, the opposition be accurate in their characterisation of the scope and scale of the problem and that their criticisms of government programs, whatever they are, meet the actual scale of the issue.

Supplementary answers to questions without notice

Emergency services—staffing

MR GENTLEMAN: Yesterday Mr Milligan asked me a question regarding the ACT Fire and Rescue pumper that was stood-up on the evening of Saturday, 4 June to assist ACT Ambulance Service, ACTAS.

It is standard practice nationally for a fire and rescue service to respond to incidents and provide critical lifesaving support until an ambulance arrives on scene. All ACT Fire and Rescue pumpers are equipped with basic life support equipment, including an advanced first-aid kit, an advanced oxygen resuscitation kit and defib, and all the members have first-aid training. This is a benefit of working in a collaborative agency such as ESA with a centralised business model to ensure the safety and care of the community is prioritised.

ACTAS has a detailed business continuity plan for circumstances where there is significant shortfall in available crews, and this BCP was enacted on the evening of Saturday, 4 June. The shortfall on the evening was due to increasing workforce demands, fatigue and illness—this is not uncommon, with these issues being experienced by ambulance services nationally and internationally.

Mr Milligan’s question suggests that the ACT Fire and Rescue pumper was sent out to a priority 1 ambulance case. Mr Milligan has also made this suggestion in the media. This is incorrect. Before making the decision to stand-up an additional ACT Fire and Rescue crew as a precautionary measure, the ESA considered some parameters under which this additional resource could be used, including: that the ACT Fire and Rescue resource would not be used as an alternative to an ambulance; that the fire and rescue resource would only be used in conjunction with an ambulance to ensure care arrived as quickly as possible; that the additional pumper’s primary function was to assist with frontline prioritising; that the resource would only provide medical assistance to low-risk category incidents; and that the resource would not be used for priority 1 cases.

On the evening of Saturday, 4 June, ACT Fire and Rescue responded to three medical-assist incidents. In all three incidents, an ambulance was already on scene. The additional crew was not required by ACT Ambulance Service to assist outside the normal business-as-usual support operations. Based on the events of the evening, the considered decision to stand-up the additional fire and rescue resource was completely appropriate.

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