Page 1285 - Week 04 - Thursday, 17 March 2005

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(2) If such a directive has been issued, (a) on what basis was it issued, given that fire-fighting personnel from these brigades have in the past responded to fires, (b) on what date will fire-fighting personnel be again able to respond to bushfire incidents and (c) what interim measures have been adopted to ensure that fire-fighting personnel can respond immediately;

(3) Have fire-fighting personnel received any training, instruction or tuition on procedures or requirements when responding to emergency incidents;

(4) Is there a national recognised training standard for responding to emergency incidents;

(5) Has the Emergency Services Authority received any legal advice relating to the legalities of emergency services personnel responding to fires; if so, what did it say;

(6) Have there been any instances where fire-fighting personnel from the Parks or Forestry brigades have been directed to respond to a report of a bushfire on a day of orange or red bushfire readiness, and the fire-fighting personnel only proceeded to the report of fire without breaking the road-rules where reasonable to do so.

Mr Hargreaves: The answer to the member’s question is as follows:

(1) The ACT Forests and Parks Brigades have been instructed by their Agency employers to comply with speed limits, traffic lights and road signs while travelling to rural fires. Where appropriate, trained and competent personnel may use lights and sirens to negotiate traffic and impediments.

(2) a) The Department of Urban Services and Environment ACT provide firefighters to the ACT Rural Fire Service under a Memorandum of Understanding. While involved in bushfire control operations, these personnel are under the command and control of the rural fire service, but they remain employees of these agencies, and government land managers maintain a duty of care for their employees. It is important to ensure that personnel undertaking fire-fighting duties including Urgent Duty Driving (UDD), are appropriately trained and work in accordance with safe work practice. This includes understanding and accounting for the limitation of fire-fighting vehicles designed for off-road situations, and having the skills and correct mental attitude to undertake UDD. Training and assessments are being undertaken to ensure that personnel responding to rural fires meet these requirements. Land Managers are working closely with the ACT RFS to refine existing training and operational procedures;

b) Personnel with requisite skills and attitude necessary to undertake UDD will be permitted to respond to bushfires in accordance with the ACT RFS Standard Operating Procedure being developed for this activity;

c) Parks and Forests Brigade personnel can proceed immediately to bushfires. It is worth noting the land management personnel are on a bushfire roster that enables them to respond immediately during duty periods.

(3) Yes.

(4) No.

(5) No.

(6) Yes.

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