Several members have recently questioned the minimum qualified staffing required for 260’s Fire Rescue (Salvage) appliance. In 1996, the Union’s State Secretary responded to a member’s query by stating that:
“The minimum is for 2 registered (SRB) operators as required by State Rescue Policy. That Policy provides minima may also be achieved by responding another appliance with rescue operators on board – they need not be on the same appliance. However, the Union continues to demand that two registered operators staff Salvage/Rescue appliances.”The member also asked “Should two qualified operators be rostered on these appliances at all times, and if so should overtime be worked regardless of normal or excess manning existing?”, to which the State Secretary replied:
“Yes. Overtime has been worked in Wollongong due to qualification shortfall on appliances, and should also be worked in Newcastle.”
Further, the Department wrote to the Union on January 4, 1996, stating (in part) that:
“You would be aware under State Rescue Emergency Service guidelines, a minimum of two accredited rescue operators must respond on the rescue appliance on every occasion and as a consequence, it would be operationally unsound to have less than fully accredited staff stationed at Macquarie Fields.”
The Union has always been, and remains, supportive of the NSWFB’s expansion in the area of Rescue – commencing with Primary accreditation for 260 Newcastle and 503 Wollongong. Failing to maintain minimum staffing of 2 SRB accredited operators isn’t a good place to start. If more qualified operators are required, then there should be more Rescue training for staff attached to 260.
Accordingly, members are hereby instructed that minimum staffing of 260’s Fire Rescue appliance is to be maintained at 2 qualified (ie SRB accredited) rescue operators. As with all minimum staffing issues, the appliance is not to respond in the event that it does not have minimum staffing of 2 qualified members.