The Union was recently alerted to the fact that the Department had unilaterally altered long-standing response procedures for Fire Investigation Unit members. It seems that rather than mobilising 95-2 when 95-1 is unable to meet a request to attend an incident, management has now directed that the Police be responded instead.
Members would be well aware of the hard-struggle mounted over the last decade to carve out a role for the NSWFB in fire investigation, a role which we have largely had to capture from the NSW Police Service. Despite the fact that the Unit has never operated at the staffing levels it was originally supposed to have, our members have continually produced super-human efforts to gain the respect of everyone (including the Police) in the fire investigation field. Now the Department appears willing to hand it all back to the Police – simply to reduce overtime.
This is just the latest sad episode in management’s ongoing war against our FIU members – and indeed against our entire rank and file. Sections like our FIU are at the forefront of the Brigades’ fire prevention activities and are important to the community’s continued belief in the NSWFB (meaning you, the membership) as a modern and effective professional fire service. Of course, the narrow focus of managers responsible for decisions such as this demonstrates yet again that they don’t care about you, or the NSWFB – their only concern is budget reductions in the misguided hope that they might have their employment contract renewed. We as a Union cannot afford to simply sit back let them destroy our job. It’s not in our interest, nor the communities that we protect.
Accordingly, members are hereby instructed to ignore management’s latest directive on the response of FIU, and to maintain the previous status-quo, ie where 95-1 is requested to attend an incident, but is unable to do so, 95-2 is to be activated. Further, the Police are not to be requested to attend any incident for the purposes of fire investigation unless communications members are specifically requested by an FIU Inspector member to do so.