Why Are Firefighters Volunteers?

Why is the firefighting industry mainly full of volunteers? I believe almost every other emergency services (police, ambulance etc) are fully paid professions. Is it because there isnt enough demand for full time firefighters, and therefore they are just required on an as needed basis. Eg: police and ambulances are required almost constantly all day every day, whereas firefighters (fortunately) are not. Theres obviously a high focus on them in the media right now as they are doing a very tough gig, voluntarily. Some people are saying they should be paid, however others are saying this will detract from the spirit and drive which motivates someone to do such a risky job, for free. Or is the media blowing this out of proportion?

Comments

    • +1 vote

      and its gonna get a lot hotter -just enjoy the fact that the entire intelligent world considers Australian climate change policy to be lunacy.

  • +3 votes

    Let’s not forget those hundreds of small businesses in country towns who are also doing it tough by willingly and gracefully allowing their staff/workers to ‘put down their tools’ so they can go and fight the fires to help protect their fellow Aussie’s lives and property.

  • +2 votes

    They volunteer their services, just like weekend beach life savers.
    However, I believe in times like which we are currently encountering - volunteer is out the wind and they should all be viewed as professional fire fighters and paid accordingly.

  • +1 vote

    The science denying Liberal National/One Nation Party prefer it this way - they don’t have to waste money on wages (until they’re ‘cornered’ on it) & the more homes/buildings that are destroyed result in economic growth when they need to be rebuilt, as our economy relies heavily on housing & house prices.

  • +3 votes

    Because they are Australians.
    That's why.

  • -3 votes

    If they want to be paid, perhaps there should be a local council levy, otherwise its just socialism with the city subsidising the bush, again.

    •  

      Is this sarcasm?

    • +2 votes

      I'm pretty happy with socialism when it comes to medical care, a defence force, and indeed, firefighters. Socialism isn't really the dirty word you are making it out to be.

      • -2 votes

        What socialism aren’t you happy with?

        • +2 votes

          Socialism in video game development.

      • +2 votes

        But it is.

        “a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.”

        •  

          That means state run and owned everything dude. Farms, shops, everything. It does not mean taxes to support community services.

          • +2 votes

            @MissG: No, that’s communism

            “…owned OR regulated…”

            People inherently confuse socialism with marxism or communism. Socialism is the belief in the collective. Taxes funding services is socialism as the collective contributes to the society

  • +14 votes

    We don't exactly want to be paid, although when out for extended periods, it would be nice. We have bills, families and mortgages too. Shouldn't need to prioritise earning potential over saving properties and lives, but that's where we are.

    We do however want the force to be properly funded and equipped. Heading out and working 14 hours, using my own equipment because our brigade isn't equipped to standard, is beyond a joke. This is basic equipment too, slashers, chainsaws, even pumps.

    Having the force controlled by a central unit sitting in an air conditioned office looking at pictures on a pc screen has also caused problems, the captains on the ground need the power to direct their own units and have them in the most effective positions. Nothing worse than being pulled away from a front, only to find the new location was not a priority and the front you had just left has become a larger issue. A captain on the ground has the information to make that call better than a controller miles away.

    • +3 votes

      Politics my friend, exists in every industry unfortunately. Often defies logic to the detriment of the people.

  • +3 votes

    It's hard to take Gladys seriously when she is telling us to volunteer meanwhile she cuts 40mil from their budget. I'm sure it sounds much worse than it is but still

  •  

    Just a food for thought article. Why don’t we invest in such equipment in advance to handle bushfire in a better way?

    https://www.theage.com.au/national/firefighting-aircraft-in-...

  • +4 votes

    Above my pay grade to comment but pretty sure army reservists get paid for the 2 weeks and 1 weekend they train per year, cant see why a similar scheme wouldnt work for volunteer fire fighters while on duty.

    Unless ofcourse Scomo is saving for his next Hawaii trip.

    Wonder what it costs to fuel up and run 'Shark one'

    • +1 vote

      Yes Army Reserve is paid for all training (which is more than what you mentioned). It's once a week, roughly 1 weekend per month + 2/3/4 weeks per year. It's tax free pay that doesn't affect any government benefits (if any).

  • +3 votes

    Apart from a simple google search, most firefighters are paid, a portion of CFA volunteers, are well, volunteers.

    The reason behind not paying them/them not wanting to be paid is psychological - proven human behavioral fact and genetic tendency.

    If you offered a lawyer to work at a lower rate for charity vs working complete for free for charity, the lawyer will always choose working for free. Paying someone at a reduced rate partially denigrates the person in thinking that their services are worth less, whereas making it volunteer work for completely free provides the individual with a sense of doing good for the community.

    This comes along the lines of jobs where often, it's not the pay that matters, but rather the sense of belonging or community amongst peers.

    PSCYH 101

    The issue now is, the volunteer work is dragging the volunteers away from their personal lives which puts the government in a predicament. There are two sides to this, if you start paying volunteers, they may actually choose not to volunteer later on as there is a reduced psychological reward. When you start paying volunteers, you may set precedent or even cause issues with other paid full time firefighters.

    The fires are going for an extended time due to the gradual buildup of forest fuel and inclement weather.

    It's also politics.

    As with anything, there are many perspectives and opinions, but remember, they are seldom the truth.

    • +3 votes

      I'm familiar with the research suggesting that offering small monetary rewards can decrease intrinsic motivation, but you didn't explain that well here.

      Don't fall into the trap (as a self taught or formally trained psychologist) of using many words to basically say very little. It's a major issue in psychology: Mutton dressed as lamb, doublespeak, and weasel words.

    • +3 votes

      most firefighters are paid.

      There's an awful lot of misinformation being written here, by people who apparently have no idea what they're talking about.

      There are about 1200 brigades (ie fire stations) in the CFA, but only about 32 have paid firefighters. Volunteers provide the fire service in more of the metropolitan area than paid staff do.

      I think the CFA has about 40,000 volunteers and about 2000 paid staff (over a third of whom are women). Not all of the paid staff are firefighters.

      A CFA volunteer-only brigade in the suburbs might have hundreds of call-outs per year, and provides exactly the same level of 24/7 service that paid staff provides, except that the volunteers don't sit at the station all day long, so the "rules" allow for that. Service delivery standards require that staff brigades get a truck out the door within 90 seconds of a call, while volunteers have to get a truck out the door within 4 minutes, since they have to get to the fire station from home or work before they can turn out.

      • +2 votes

        Thank you, pretty much spot on, the bulk of on the ground fire fighters are volunteer.
        The posts on here saying we work a few weeks a year, or that we can go years without a call out are utterly ridiculous. For 2018 the vic CFA had 1,321 paid vs 34,586 volunteer members, that's boots on the ground, operations members, not support roles. However the support roles had a similar ratio with 1,351 paid vs 20,483 volunteer members.

        I don't have access to current numbers, but I would say it's a fair guess that volunteer numbers dropped for 2019, lot of bureaucracy keeping able and willing people away at the moment.

  • +2 votes

    Just a note it's good to see the armed forces getting involves to pitch in a hand.

    https://www.theage.com.au/politics/federal/naval-ships-and-a...

  • +6 votes

    I think the family members of volunteers that have died in service, should be financially taken care of by the tax payer.

    •  

      This is probably the best idea. If there actually isn't enough money to pay volunteers, at least for the time they lose out in money working, then some sort of "defence" type mention might be in order.

      • +1 vote

        There's always enough money to pay volunteers however if it took months to get the government to provide RFS volunteers a financial incentive, it's unlikely the government will pay out or support the families of volunteers who died in service.

        Giving the firefighters $200 a day and a max of $6000 is disgusting. RFS and emergency personnel are working 12 or more hour shifts and risking their lives in extremely hazardous conditions. Some are even working at their regular jobs once their RFS shift ends.

        •  

          I think it's a case of something better than nothing.

          I'd pay then more. But I don't understand Australia's budget.

  •  

    Anyone who is a volunteer firey or paid one, feel free to correct me please.

    But isn't the volunteer fire fighter program in existence because a lot of the time of the firey is spent waiting for a call out? So it's a cost saving measure.

    In the USA fire fighters are also paramedics (with the less training,responsibility and powers than Australian paramedics), and they're paid a regular wage but are also called out to more jobs.

    •  

      MFB and CFA career firefighters also provide Emergency Medical Response (EMR) in Victoria.

      •  

        I think what they can do in aus is limited. Just cardiac arrests and mouth to mouth etc.

        I could be wrong.

    • +2 votes

      Sort of correct. Basically in a rural town, the incidence of fire requiring fire fighting is so low it would be completely cost impractical to hire full time fire fighters (yes even considering lives lost, you can't protect everyone, always a $$ cost).

      So, people in town become volunteer fire fighters to protect their own property and their neighbours on an as need basis. In smaller towns there is a good number of volunteers so that people can be on call at any moment. You generally can't be a volunteer if you don't live in the area as you need to be available.

      As others have said, in VIC the CFA have both full time (in bigger regional towns and the outer suburbs of Melbourne) and volunteer (typically rural). The CFA get funding for both for equipment and the like.

      When we consider bushfires, the incidents are (in fire fighting relative terms based on a given area) low, we typically have big ones in any one given area every 10 years (seems to take people by suprise) and smaller fires (generally 1-3) inbetween the 10 years. Thus, again, a full time brigade is completely impractical to pay to be ready for these events.

      Though the conditions have changed in the last 20 years (primarily less rain, and a drier fuel source, leading to more significant and harder to control fires). There may need to be a rethink of how they are managed or how we can control them.

      I personally think it's time to train the army (properly) in wildfire fighting and have them ready to be deployed rapidly in the summer season. We have seen the information and comms work fantasticly compared to 10 years ago, Victoria should be really proud of how that's been implemented. However on the ground fire fighting really hasn't changed a whole lot.

  • -2 votes

    People volunteer because they want to stop climate change.

  • +3 votes

    We have army reservists who are paid for their service, surely we can use the same system for rural fire services. These type of fires will be the new norm, it is not fair to expect these people to continue to risk their lives without remuneration.

  •  

    Because 'back in the old days' people loved their country, have a sense of community spirit and national pride and much of this older/country Aussie stock make up the CFA volleys. Just look at the blokes anytime you see them on the TV or the guys that died recently.

    Now our flag, national day, southern cross and anthem is racist, built on stolen land, etc etc.

    God help us in the next generation… ('what's in it for me' / 'why would anyone do that for free?').

    I guess it will have to be a paid force in the future, that is, unless Agenda 2030 is successful in moving us all into cities and out of the country.

    • +1 vote

      No … The national flag, southern cross and the anthem has been hijacked by racist bigoted people/organisation and became a symbol for them and hiding behind it, But i never hear anyone telling them not to misuse those symbols.

  • +5 votes

    Wildfire firefighting requires huge amounts of resources and varying levels of speciality training and to simply put it the states can't afford to pay every person required for the huge amounts of manpower, often funds required will outweigh the cost of just replacing property. I've seen millions of tax dollars spent to save half-million-dollar huts.

    Rural service was created as a means to supply remote communities with capability, training and resources to defend themselves not necessarily full funded workforce.

    A self-aware, self-prepared, self-trained volunteer community can be far more easy to defend then only supplying professional firefighters when in need.

    In a sense, for the same budget cost, 1000 volunteer firefighters are more effective than 100 full-time professional firefighters or 300 part-time professional firefighters.

    Emergency services are always finding a balance to maximise effectiveness at a lower cost to the demanding taxpayer

    but at the end of the day, Australia is becoming world-leading in disaster management because of the frequency of these events and the services corporate belief that global warming will increase this and the intensity.

    • -1 vote

      Yep we are world leading buyers of submarines - 230 - 250 billion dollars.

      Our local republican party - otherwise known as the liberals - spent our savings on the defence of America.

      We can all burn because our government does only what America tells it to.

      But do not fear, when the main republican party - the liberals lose an election - the backup republican party - labour will just repeat the same crap yank policies because Australia has been taken over like a dozen other countries. We are no longer an independent nation, we just do what we are told to do like lemmings.

      We will just continue to run over the cliff into the inferno… Happy new hellfire year

      • -1 vote

        Our local republican party - otherwise known as the liberals

        There is nothing liberal about the LP. They are on the conservative side of the spectrum.

        • -1 vote

          no they represent the republican party of America - they do nothing to promote Australia - they wrecked our position in the pacific - now we are nothing.

          •  

            @petry:

            the republican party of America

            The GOP is conservatives.

            •  

              @whooah1979: why do you both think someone shouldn't address the Liberal Party of Australia as 'the liberals'?

              Do they have another name?

              Maybe you're confused by their website - www.liberal.org.au

              •  

                @petry: You guys agree, why are you arguing? Yes the LNP is liberal in name only.

                Reading the about page on that website is interesting through.

                "We support individual freedom and free enterprise" - or, freedom of individuals to use government contacts to advantage themselves in business" (https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/business-law/battlers-and-...)

                "Freedom of speech and association" - except with occupy Sydney, the university protests… They did let the tent embassy go for a while though which was good.

                "Protect the environment" - by subsiding the Adani mine, weaseling out if emissions targets by saying we are a small populations and thus a tiny part of the problem, and or course not giving the RFS the tools it needs to do their volunteer work.

                • +2 votes

                  @ozbjunkie: I'm not arguing, the liberals refers to the Australian liberal party, which is now solely applying American republican policies here to the detriment of Australia. What we should have is a vote to sell Australia to America. Every Australian VOTING YES gets 1 million US dollars.

                  It will never happen because the yanks got Australia for nothing…and on top of that we are now paying them forever. That's what regime change is all about

                  •  

                    @petry: I don't like conservatives USA or Aussie parties, but I'm pretty sure we are selling/loaning our country to the Chinese, not the yanks.

                    •  

                      @ozbjunkie: and that idea comes from the good old USA - how to sell weapons to suckers - convince them that they need really big expensive weapons of mass destruction - American made of course.

                      •  

                        @petry: The lease on Darwin port and heaps of farmland doesn't seem like just an American idea. Seems like reality.

                        •  

                          @ozbjunkie: yep we're paying - we obviously need a big port for (our) submarine fleet - and Perth is so public for those nuclear carriers….

      •  

        Personally I think them submarines and fighter jets may be the deciding factor if there is a naval invasion of Australia. Our defence force has publicly recognised as the world continues to develop that we will need to rely less and less on our big allies and focus more on our local area of influence.

        So recent years we have focused on quality capabilities to provide technology advantage due to our large landmass and low population, sadly to do this it costs an arm and a leg.

        I will agree though our government is influenced hugely by the global political balance as we trade and work with both two superpowers China and America.

        Bushfires wouldn't be fixed if you spent 1 trillion dollars on them just mitigate them. Legislation, awareness, correct land management and reduction of carbon output may help in the future.

        •  

          Who wants to invade us? Not china, so that leaves Indonesia, unless you're worried about the kiwis…

          We no longer work with china because our yank pollies dance to another countries tune. That's Australia's loss.

          meanwhile enjoy those 3 degrees, a direct consequence of American pollution

          •  

            @petry: Invasion unlikely yes, impossible no. Evidently the likely hood of it happening depends on if other countries viewing us a strategical resource like japan did in WW2. I predict most places would want to restrict navel movement around Australia and the only way to do that is occupied Australia.

            Our local area of influence includes but are not limited to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, East Timor, New Caledonia, Philippines, Vanuatu, Sea of china, Antarctica, New Zeland ect ect

            Any small or large conflicts in these areas and our low number defence size we will need to provide direct quick action while defending our interests at home. Hard to do without trillions of dollars of advantage and early warning.

            •  

              @dylan345: mate why do you think that and then ignore the US control of our country, and all those US Naval bases and airfields - jeez we are all about to pay for yet another US resource in the North.

              The only reason to hit us is to remove our US infestation, because we are no longer neutral, and no longer independent - we are just a vassal state. Our taxes help pay for America's defence not our own.

      •  

        Also a fleet of BMW's for our politicians!

  •  

    I had a very interesting conversation with my Dad who is currently in the US- California to be precise. We got discussing the bushfires and he mentioned similar fires that California and other bush-fire prone areas face every year and he mentioned the fir fighting set up over there.

    Apparently, during the fire season, the home insurance companies now fund and hire so called " fire-fighting agencies" whose task is to help mitigate and sometimes fight to defend specific clients houses. The wealthy simply hire their own fire fighters to defend their multi-million dollar properties. These insurance companies have a vested interest in keeping the home from burning down and hence outfit their units with the latest and modern equipment. An example was the recent fire near Malibu that had reports of Kim K and Kayne W hiring their own unit to avoid fires reaching their multi-million $$ house

    Maybe a similar model over here, have the insurance companies fund private contractors to defend their clients properties - after all the pay out will be far more $$

    • -1 vote

      Just leave the ordinary Australians to burn then just like now. Spare me the US garbage of user pays because the yanks don't - now you want everyone to pay an insurance levy to better protect the rich - how American. Maybe you should just go live in America.

      That shit idea just sums up what Australia has become. Our pollies already surround themselves with mercenary security agencies many of whom are directly linked to the CIA. Our( yeah right) security personnel are trained in the US, after being selected for their right wing views and lack of morality. Its a carefully managed operation straight from Langley's Australian desk - I hear they closed the English one - its now based in docklands.

  •  

    Maybe it's jsut easier if they are volunteers, if they were employees then Fairwork says they need at least a certain amount of hours per week or whatever, but what if there's no fires for four months straight.

  •  

    Even though they are volunteer they should get tax breaks. Its not like other volunteer organisations handing out pamphlets in safety.

  •  

    Can't be bothered reading every comment but RFS / SES / SLSC certainly do have 100's of paid staff at state, regional and local levels.

    They predominantly look after preincident planning and preparedness, facility management, fleet, landuse and strategic planning, community engagement and education, and linkages into other agencies, and emergency management coordination.

    Not sure but RFS likely has 20 000 volunteers in NSW, SES has 10 000, SLSC prob closer to 5? Which are all trained and accedited at carry out a range of level of response and tasks.

    It's the response and recovery aspect of the emergency management spectrum where vollys are used, and yes I suspect it's because largly there isn't enough 'action' of the same hazard and required response to a) justify or b) equip a single body to tackle.

    What's gets me (and yes I've been involved in some massive state level emergencies) is the language used by RFS and their focus on property protection- 'consider leaving' , 'leave if it's in your plan' - instead of evac now! Get the f' out people! your life and that of vollys is worth more than the value of your entire communities possessions!

    •  

      It's the response and recovery aspect of the emergency management spectrum where vollys are used

      That's completely and utterly wrong as far as the CFA in Victoria are concerned. Volunteers are "used" for everything that paid staff are "used" for, and urban volunteers are well trained.

      •  

        was speaking in terms of NSW as referenced.

  • +1 vote

    why can't centrelink round up a few unemployed able bodied individuals and send them to the fire areas to assist/upskill? help support the system that support you.

    •  

      uggh so you think we live in a fascist state then?

      •  

        if its our taxes keeping them alive, why can't they keep the country alive by putting out fires, instead of being idle. help support the system that support you

        • -1 vote

          our prime minister went away to the USA on a taxpayer funded holiday, and did nothing to help put the fires out.Lots of people reliant on centrelink through no fault of their own would not have done that, and would have declared a state of emergency before so many people died.

          Clearly you support our paid prime minister in doing nothing, because you support his system of doing nothing.

        •  

          People on the dole get a vote too, they wouldn't be voting to do something for so little.

          That said since people don't want to be on the dole why don't they scrap it and people just enter into temporary employment in the public sector. Whatever they get paid divided by minimum wage is their contracted hours and the government can ask them to do whatever they are able bodied to do… government wouldn't want that in marginal seats.

      •  

        Or the lazy state where unemployed are just having to find jobs that they can't seem to find when there is a lot of good they could be doing like increasing our level of recycling.

        •  

          or maybe consider just dropping the sick, the elderly the disabled and the elderly on the fires as fire retardant since they clearly don't seem to warrant any care or compassion in Australia anymore.
          No training required.

          That's the American way after all…

    • +3 votes

      why can't centrelink round up a few unemployed able bodied individuals

      Because they'd be a liability to themselves and others.

      Paid staff, once they get past the interview stage, are trained for 14 weeks full time, and not everyone makes it, regardless of how "able-bodied" they are.

      A typical urban volunteer would have to complete about six months of training (usually twice a week) to be able to turn out at all, and they'd usually have a lot more on-the-job training and mentoring before they'd ever be sent out to a major bushfire.

      You can't just hand anyone a helmet and a fire hose and let them loose.

      •  

        they didn't say they would get any equipment..

  •  

    If anything this has just highlighted how poorly we equip those trusted to fight these fires in a country that burns regularly.
    I cant for the life of me work out why this isn't of higher importance and more isn't spent on large aircraft to fight fires all the way down to equipping CFA\RFS\SES with more stuff to help.

    On top of that increase penalties for those found to be thieving stuff from the above who take vital tools away from everyone when they're needed.

  •  

    My theory is because the instance of needing the amount of firefighters currently required is rare. If you were to employ full time the amount of FF’s currently required they would be doing diddly squat a majority of the time and a shitload of money being used for nothing.

  • +1 vote

    Fire and Rescue is ful time. They have full time urban stations that do both fire and rescue obv and are generally only in cities with large populations. They have auxiliary stations with are the same as fire and rescue (they also do road crash rescue, white water rescue, vertical rescue and other kinds of rescue etc), but are only staffed casually and are generally for larger rural areas. The RFS only does bush firefighting and it's entirely unpaid and staffed by volunteers except for some very high level management with is paid.

    The reason it is volunteer based is because it's not always required consistently. Ie it's only offered in some places (the bush), the work is very unpredictable and often infrequent and was originally historically taken up by volunteers and farmers. The other reason is that the RFS is the largest volunteer organisation in the southern hemisphere. There are 370000 members and paying all of them even sometimes would be insane and not logistically feasible.

  •  

    What a misleading and false title and op.

    Only the minority is voluntary. Others obviously of course get paid.

    • -3 votes

      How about you read the very first sentence genius.

      • +2 votes

        "why are firefighters volunteers?"

        what do you understand of this?

    • +1 vote

      Minority? From what I can see here it seems to be the vast majority that are volunteers…

  •  

    But they are paid?

    We have paid Firefighters who do considerably more than just waiting for fires, e.g. Pull bodies out of cars, emergency rescue, certification of hydrants and other firefighting regulations. We have volunteers who volunteer typically when a large scale event occurs to fight fires.

    Exactly the same as when a child goes missing, volunteer groups like the SES come into action and fill the role of what a low-grade emergency staff would be doing and searching.

    • -1 vote

      Cannot speak for RFS, but there are specialised NSW SES (unpaid) units in rural and regional areas who regularly attend to motor vehicle accidents as primary responders for example.

  • +2 votes

    I think after this incident they should have a conditional emergency fund set up, i.e. if the situation goes on for longer than X weeks, volunteers will be compensated for the time they have lost while off the job. No need for a full time wage. Also maybe a bit of money to help with upgrading their equipment so that it's safer.

  • +2 votes

    Can't they just be paid as casuals when they have to work?

    •  

      Yeh I was thinking about the same thing. It'll be pretty easy to create another "award" system for firefighters

    •  

      Come some who been is SES my dad in RFS like my pop was. Not about money RFS people are doing amazing job many give bonus gift for help over such a long time don't cheap them in casuals full trained firefights.

  • +2 votes

    There's not enough money to pay volunteers. Holidays to Hawaii and maintaining the surplus is more important. It's the greens fault anyway. Btw how good's the cricket?

  • +1 vote

    Come some who been in SES and my dad in SES and RFS for most of his like my pop was and his pop before that. it about have skill help out in a time of need. i think fireghter should get something they are Amazing people.

  • +4 votes

    Thought I'd offer a different perspective. I used to work for a state government department closely affiliated with Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, and the Rural Fire Service. Some of the key determinants from having volunteer vs paid fire fighters are the number of call outs, isocrones (service radiuses, driven under lights and sirens) and population density, reason being the utmost priority is saving lives. There's also two subsets of paid fire fighters - auxiliaries who are paid on call out basis and permanent (full time, ~40 hours per week, shift work).

    According to the key stats on page 8 of the latest QFES annual report there are over 3,300 full time equivalent employees in QFES and 38,500 (yes that's right) volunteers in the RFS. Now this includes support staff too. Collectively they responded to over 73,300 call outs. "Landscape" fires accounted for approximately 14% of all call outs. Even if landscape fires doubled, it would account for about 24% of all call outs… It's just not feasible to pay all 38,500 volunteers nor necessary. QFES's model is scalable as and when needed, a local Rural Fire Brigade can be converted into an auxiliary or permanent fire station.

    I think the federal scheme to pay volunteer fire fighters who have been called out for more than 10 days is really the most sensible solution for interim hazardous situations such as these.

    Also volunteer organisations have more leeway to operate more dynamically and efficiently without the unnecessary bureaucracy that is unavoidable with state government. If volunteers are on the state government payroll, there's a risk that volunteers who have the essential local experience will be pushed out because they can't meet the usual criteria for public servants.

  • +1 vote

    They're defending their own homes/communities. There would be no reason to fight the fires if they didn't live out there.

  • +2 votes

    I can only speak for Victoria, but if you are interested look up the Forest Fire Management website. CFA make up only a part of the firefighting force in the state. Other agencies do a huge amount of the work (paid) but are not talked about in the media for various reasons.

  •  

    RFS volunteer charged with starting seven bushfires:
    https://www.2gb.com/ultimate-betrayal-rfs-volunteer-charged-...

    •  

      Some ozmoron negged you. cant for the life of me figure out why. i upvoted you back to neutral.

  • +1 vote

    Funny the amount of comments I read here that think that fire fighters only do as their name suggests - fight fires.

    There's a hell of a lot more to it than that, considering (in my own experience with a father who has been a volunteer FF my entire life) it's about an equal split between fires and other emergency situations (car accident, hazardous material spill etc). Add on the time they have to do fire drills/burnoffs (with their brigade) as well as weekends away on training courses which they need to do, and again, don't get paid for it.

    There's a difference (at least in WA) between BFS (Bush Fire Service, usually smaller country towns supported by a larger regional country town) and VFRS (Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service). Yes, the BFS may only be called out a few times a year, but the VFRS are definitely called out a hell of a lot more than 'a couple of days a year' as someone said earlier.

    Let's not also forget the volunteer Ambo's as well as SES and Sea Search and Rescue.

    Source: Dad has been a volunteer fire fighter for 48 years in my home town. He does it because he is just that sort of person who wants to help out others.. plus having an annual piss up BBQ (that they have to fundraise/pay for themselves) also helps keep the old boy motivated.