The Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) has been lobbying for a VERY long time to make training for chainsaw use an optional part of the modules available to our members.
The 26,000 incredible women and men of WA’s Volunteer Bush Fire Service have been doing the “PP” of the “PPRR” (Preparedness, Prevention, Response and Recovery) that DFES has just recently been funded to take over, so it will understandably take a little while for what we know to become apparent to those new to the issues.
However, it’s critically important to note that for our teams of highly skilled and locally knowledgeable practitioners, mitigation isn’t just about planned burning – we know that mechanical mitigation (like cutting back foliage) and making sure emergency services have clear access to high-risk areas are two critically important parts of that Preparedness and Prevention our members have been doing for decades.
The good news on chainsaws is that we have already had some constructive discussions with John Tillman from the Bushfire Centre of Excellence who has committed to consult with other sections of DFES about the issue of including a training module for Bush Fire Brigade volunteers. We are also continuing to advocate for Chainsaws to be made available under the ESL and if necessary, bush fire appliances being modified to enable their transport as part of our ongoing work on reforming the Local Government Grants Scheme (LGGS).
[Edited to respect the brigade’s intent]