We saw the fantastic photo and comment below posted by our cousins at the Kalbarri VFRS on Facebook yesterday and thought the key message was very important to share:

Many colours, one job! Something like 46 pole fires today. Couldn’t have done it with out our brothers.

While the association absolutely champions the need for the future of WA’s emergency services model to retain the separate streams of the State Emergency Service (SES), Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS), Volunteer Marine Rescue Service (VMRS) and Volunteer Bush Fire Service (BFS), it’s not because our members don’t get along or work well together – quite the contrary!

There are definitely challenges – but they are administrative issues like weird policies that allow AEDs to be purchased for one service using ESL but not others or refusing to provide our association any more than a third of the operational funding DFES gives to our peers – and we are finding more and more that when our members ask us to raise these issues, a lot of volunteers from the other services are supportive of trying to fix the anomalies.

But “on the ground” where it really counts, when there’s a job to be done, you will never find a more focussed or skilled team than one made up of members from all of our volunteer services.

And that is why this association and others support WA’s unique model of individual, specialist services rather than one generic one. We know that having a Bush Fire Service with deep specialist knowledge and tools to manage bushfire AND a Fire and Rescue Service with the same level of specialist skills and equipment for internal structure fire and rescue means the Western Australian community can rest assured that when there is a specific need, we are very well covered. But as the Kalbarri VFRS post shows, that model of individual specialist service also means that when a major incident occurs or many small incidents at one time, the different specialists come together to form an amazing response.

Just image if the Fantastic Four all had the same super-powers and tools. The reason the Fantastic Four IS fantastic is that when the poo really hits the fan, they all work together – using their different super-powers to get the job done… and that is what Western Australia currently has and needs to maintain.

Thanks to the Kalbarri VFRS for sharing such an insightful post and congratulations to the Fantastic Four services that worked together to stop many small incidents becoming several big ones.