FENZ review of Memorandum of Understanding with St John.

  Posted on 29th October 2019 by Nick Cottrell in UFBA blog, UFBA News

The recently reviewed MoU with St John had provision for all personnel to respond to more than purple calls eg red medical emergencies.

We are advised by Fire and Emergency Deputy Chief Executive for Service Delivery Kerry Gregory that this provision will not be actioned until personnel are appropriately trained for the work and responsibilities.

This is important so that public can be confident that personnel responding are appropriately trained. Also personnel need to be confident that they are not being exposed to situations they are unable to comfortably deal with.

Approved first response units will continue to respond to a wider range of incidents due to their higher level of medical training and expertise.

So to reiterate provisions will not be implemented until responders are appropriately trained.

1 Comment

25 Nov 19

I didn’t an opportunity to raise this during the Conference but the note in the Annual Report (p15) under the heading ‘January 2019 - FENZ and St John MoU’ that the UFBA “...stressed the need to address pressures on volunteers as they act as first responders…” is simply not correct.

I have checked the UFBA submission on the MoU since release of the Annual Report. If anything, that submission leans more towards broadening the first responder response than constraining it. It certain does not raise let alone stress anything relating to pressures on responding volunteers.

I assume that this quite dramatic change of heart is a result of the paper that SFF Josh Darby has written. In the breakout session that Josh led at the Conference he was quite clear that the data on which he based his findings had a number of holes in it and was largely based on overseas studies. I’m also not sure what peer review this paper has been subject to.

I talked to a number of volunteer firefighters leaders at the conference - not as many as I would have wished - and while there was a general concern that St John was finding it more difficult to meet growing demand for its services, there was not a corresponding concern that broadening the FENZ first response output would have an adverse effect on volunteer firefighters.

As a general theme, those brigades that shared a location ie a town with an ambulance station tended more towards minor annoyance when they had to cover shortfalls in ambulance coverage. Those brigades located away from ambulance bases more saw first response as another means of serving their community.

Certainly that’s the position my brigade is in. Our closest ambulance is 30-40 minutes away, then 90 minutes for the next one if the first three are already committed (which happens relatively often). Rather than wait for an ambulance to arrive, families will try to drive to meet the ambulance - sometimes driving in the wrong direction - or drive directly to hospital. Meanwhile, because no one has actually stop breathing, our brigade carries on life as normal, when we could at the very least provide some comfort and forward information to the responding ambulance..

It would be really good if the UFBA could clarify its position on broadening or not the FENZ first response output and why the statement int eh Annual Report is so different from the actual submission on the St John MoU.

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