This weekend, more than 120 Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers will attend the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) RFS Volunteer Summit in Cairns.
Representing Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan, Minister for Seniors and Disability Services, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Member for Barron River Craig Crawford MP, said the summit is a great opportunity for RFS volunteers to come together, learn and develop their skills.
“RFS Volunteer summits focus on peer-to-peer knowledge sharing and developing best-practice models,” Minister Crawford said.
“They are also a testament to the commitment of Queensland’s RFS to the roles they perform and the communities they serve,” he said.
“There are tens of thousands of dedicated service volunteers who step up to help their fellow Queenslanders in times of disaster and tragedy.
“RFS volunteers are critical in reducing the risks to their communities, undertaking bushfire mitigation works including assisting landowners with hazard-reduction burns and conducting community education activities to help Queenslanders understand their risk and prepare their properties.
“This means our RFS volunteers genuinely care about their communities.
“In 2020, there were close to 5000 vegetation fires and RFS personnel contributed more than 140 000 hours to manage these, largely through the dedication of our wonderful volunteers.”
The two-day program will include presentations on training pathways for the future, intelligence and data capture, aerial firefighting, mental health awareness and working with Indigenous communities.
QFES Commissioner Greg Leach said the summit was an important opportunity for RFS personnel to collaborate and discuss key issues.
“Over the years, the RFS Volunteer Summit has gone from strength to strength,” Mr Leach said.
“Unfortunately, the Coronavirus outbreak in 2020 meant we had to reschedule but it’s fantastic to see that many of our members will join the summit here in Cairns or next month at the Sunshine Coast.
“These summits are key opportunities to meet, share our knowledge and identify how we can work together to continue to deliver great outcomes for communities around Queensland.
“They also give us the chance to thank our RFS staff and volunteers for the ongoing hard work, dedication and commitment they show around the state.
“Our incredible volunteers are always willing to put their hand up when support is needed and are a reflection of the strong sense of community that exists in rural and regional areas.
“Every year our RFS volunteers spend thousands of hours training, educating the community and performing vital functions, such as conducting hazard reduction burns, attending fire emergencies, issuing permits to light fires and brigade support.
“RFS volunteers are vital to growing connected and capable communities.”