We sometimes hear a pretty simplistic explanation of the core differences between the good men and women of the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service and the amazing ladies and gents of the Volunteer Bush Fire Service and it goes something like this: “the red truck folks do structure fires, HAZMAT and car crashes while the white/gold trucks only turn up to bush fires.”
While the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) is certainly proud of the special skills and unparalleled expert knowledge our volunteers have in all things bush fire, we also know that when the heat is on, red trucks often turn up to support our crews at bush fire incidents and the invaluable volunteers of WA’s largest emergency service are often on the front line at crashes, industrial incidents and structure fires. So we believe it is critical not acknowledge that each service has specialist training and equipment for sure, but there isn’t always a neat line where one stops and the other takes over.
This issue is particularly relevant right now, in the midst of lots of discussion around the shape of the future Rural Fire Service. We’ve had Members of Parliament suggest that creating the new service as promised would somehow create demarcation disputes where the red trucks refuse to go into RFS “territory” and visa versa. But neither the fire and rescue volunteers or our amazing volunteer bush fire service members are anything like the “Waste Management” unionists portrayed in TV shows like The Sopranos and already roll up their collective sleeves and work together whenever the community needs us.
We doubt the government will be able to deliver an independent RFS in the medium term, but when it does, we are 100% confident that coordination and cooperation will actually improve – primarily because the specialist skills and local knowledge of bush fire service volunteers will be formally acknowledged and supported as the fire and rescue crews have been since the Bush Fires Board was thrown out with the bath water.
Anyway, we saw a great little Facebook post about the multi-talented crews of the Myalup and Binningup Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades training at one of WA’s most valuable State assets and thought it really highlighted just how diverse and invaluable ALL the emergency service volunteers are to our amazing home – including the 2,000 or so fire and rescue volunteers with specialist skills and training that our 26,000 bush fire service volunteers don’t often get called on to use – and again, visa versa.
So thank you to the amazing teams at Myalup and Binningup VBFB’s – we know the people, chemicals and structures of the State’s $1 billion Desalination Plant would be in very good hands if disaster ever struck.
And thank you for the brief reminder of just how diverse, rewarding and invaluable our service really is.