26 September 2023

Fire Service hot over use of their volunteers

Start the conversation

The SA Country Fire Service (CFS) has admitted being increasingly concerned at the number of demands being placed on its volunteers to assist the SA Ambulance Service responding to medical incidents.

Chief Officer of the CFS, Mark Jones said the Service’s volunteers attended approximately 1,000 medical incidents in the past year.

“They attend these with no specialist medical training and no additional mental health support,” Mr Jones said.

“These incidents often happen in small communities where the volunteers are turning up to an incident where they know the casualty,” he said.

“CFS volunteers who are responding to these incidents are doing so outside of the scope of their standard duties, in their own time without pay, and without the same support as paramedics.”

He said the CFS was not funded in any way for these non-statutory roles.

“Our volunteers are routinely called upon to attend traumatic events beyond the scope of their firefighting duties and these jobs fall outside of most people’s expectations when they join the service,” Mr Jones said.

“This is something that has occurred without any formal agreement or additional support for our volunteers doing an already tough job.”

Mr Jones said that while the volunteers were trained in first aid, and had many specialist skills, there was a large difference between providing CPR and addressing someone’s underlying clinical health issues.

“A higher level of training and support would seem to be vital as a starter,” he said.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.