In what has been one of the most ferocious and devastating fire seasons in living memory, the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (RFSA) has thanked NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) volunteers and staff as well as other emergency services personnel for their continued efforts.
Battling intense heat, long hours and dangerous conditions – and with the summer only just beginning, the RFSA is also asking Australians to think about volunteer firies who will be out saving properties and lives over the Christmas and New Year period.
Over recent weeks, the RFSA has supported firefighters
where the conditions have triggered emergency declarations under section 44 of
the Rural Fires Act.
This has included over $200,000 of support in the form of meals and drinks, in addition to care packs, over 4,000 clean cotton t-shirts for firefighters when they come off the fire ground, as well as toiletry packs and hygiene wipes.
The RFSA has also provided crucial mental health support to firefighters who are on the frontline.
RFSA President Brain McDonough has witnessed first-hand the courage, camaraderie and work ethic of volunteer firefighters.
“The dedication, skills and efforts of all personnel who front up and volunteer day in and day out to fight and contain these fires, help save lives and protect property is extraordinary,” Mr McDonough said.
“It is seriously tough out there. The crews are exhausted, and they are stretched to capacity. There’s no doubt this is turning out to be one of the toughest and longest fire seasons.
“But the volunteers, together with other emergency services personnel, are absolutely committed to helping the community and keeping people safe.”
Mr McDonough also highlighted the importance of employers who allowed volunteer firefighters to leave the workplace to assist the firefighting efforts.
“A supportive employer makes it much easier for a volunteer to respond to the call as their workplace acknowledges the importance of their service and the security of their job,” he said.
“We must also not forget those who are self-employed and have left their farms or businesses to assist when needed, and those who used their annual leave entitlements to volunteer.
“We are extremely grateful for the support of the people of NSW and their continued support of our members, the volunteers and staff of the RFS.”
If you wish to support the work of the RFSA, you can visit https://www.givenow.com.au/rfsa