The Fire Brigade Employees’ Union is warning that fire stations including the one at Bundeena are under threat of temporary closures.
Bundeena Firefighting Services
Bundeena is home to two firefighting services. Bundeena Rural Fire Brigade, (Station 23) is part of the NSW Rural Fire Service. Their main responsibility is firefighting of bushfires as well as fire prevention in the form of hazard reduction burns. Most of the firefighters for the RFS are volunteers.
Fire and Rescue NSW (Station 80) is the other firefighting service based in Bundeena. Their primary responsibility is the fire protection of property (eg residential homes or commercial buildings) as well as responding to incidents such as motor vehicle, industrial and hazardous materials accidents. FRNSW also have first responder duties in the event of medical episodes until they can be treated by Ambulance NSW paramedics. FRNSW members are paid employees.
Under some circumstances Bundeena RFB and Bundeena RFS may provide assistance to each other when responding to incidents.
Bundeena FRNSW Resourcing
While FRNSW have a fire station in Bundeena it is not normally resourced with full time staff. Due to the relatively low number of incidents Bundeena FRNSW is resourced on an on-call basis. A pool of locally retained firefighters are rostered based on availability to respond to incidents within a required time frame.
In the event of an incident the rostered firefighters attend first to the fire station before departing with the required vehicle and equipment to the site of the incident. If no locally retained firefighters are available to be rostered over a particular window then FRNSW will temporarily roster a firefighter from another FRNSW station. This firefighter will physically be present at the Bundeena FRNSW station and provide coverage in the event of an incident.
Fire Station Closures Threat
The Fire Brigade Employees’ Union is warning that the NSW Government are in the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) this week, fighting for the right to close stations in the case of a staff shortage. The FBEU claim if the Government wins, it will allow them to temporarily close any station rather than maintain staffing by bringing in firefighters from other areas. The closure could be for a few hours, or a few weeks. There is no upper limit.
If the FBEU claims become reality it could leave residents of Bundeena Maianbar as well visitors to the Royal National Park exposed to additional risk as the next nearest FRNSW station is 30 minutes away.
The FBEU is reccommending concerned citizens contact their local MP, or directly contact the Minister for Emergency Services (David Elliott), or the Premier (Gladys Berejiklian).