Thursday, 20 October 2011
Link sticks to be re-issued to applicable brigades
Following more than12 months of lobbying and negotiations, link sticks (low voltage de-energising poles) will again be available to Volunteer community fire brigades.
More than12 months ago Queensland Fire & Rescue Service requested the immediate collection of all link sticks in Queensland that were in the hands of Volunteer fire brigades, many of which had been supplied through a Rural Fire Brigades Association grant to benefit isolated communities.
This directive left many communities without the ability to make the area safe from the dangers of electrocution, which occurred during structural fires and at times when power lines are down due to pole collapse.
The Rural Fire Brigades Association have continued to apply pressure on the fire service to have this direction reversed. Don Alexander AFSM from Barcaldine, and Jon Bundy Roma represented the Association on a committee called by Rural Operations to bring some sense back into the equation.
The outcomes of this committee for the reintroduction of Link Sticks are as follows
· Brigades must place a request for a Link Stick with their District Inspector.
· Brigade must be in a remote area with the nearest trained electrician more than15 minutes driving distance away, or the brigade must have medium attack appliance or larger.
Once these requirements are satisfied:-
· Rural Operations will supply a link stick.
· Rural Operations will supply accredited training.
· Rural Operations will supply tested (upgraded) link stick every 6 months.
· Rural Operations will supply appropriate PPE.
· Rural Operations will supply recertification every 12 months.
Rural Operations vehicles in areas where link sticks are in use by brigades will carry replacement link sticks to ‘swap out’ with brigades if necessary.
The Rural Fire Brigades Association is pleased, that from a situation where communities were left exposed due to a decision made by Queensland Fire and Rescue Service, without consultation with Rural Operations District Inspectors, Rural Fire Brigade Volunteers, or the Association; A sensible outcome has now been achieved, once more RFB Volunteers can defend their communities.