Page 15 - Smoke Signals Autumn/Winter 2017
P. 15

By Nicholas Swadling, Fire Warden, Charleville Rural Fire Brigade Area
For quite a considerable time, I’ve been dissatisfied with our manually operated Fire Danger Signs, you know the ones placed outside towns, arrow pointing to coloured segments, the ones that mostly never get changed.
A while back I was thinking of the problem that they never seem to indicate on any given day, what the actual fire danger rating is, which means that as a safety warning device for travellers, they are next to useless in a lot of towns.
As I pass by these signs I sometimes find myself wondering, ‘How long is it since some overworked poor soul changed that placard, it’s been raining here for near on two weeks and the placard is still on SEVERE’.
I’m an innovative sort of fella and adaptive of technology as it becomes available, thinking of a solution was obvious and simple really; make our Fire Danger Signs electronic where possible and convenient.
To my mind, that would entail, solar powered LED graphics and fonts with the fire rating indicator changeable via mobile phone signal activation,
including a message panel or two, changing as required, the input to the device could be local, regional, or indeed central, depending on circumstances. The daily accuracy of the signage indicated by led Time, Date, Temperature, would be a huge improvement, with a relevant message to travellers being a bonus.
Sourcing information from signage manufacturers turned out to be very difficult and slow, with zero interest in developing the signs, so I waited.
Last January whilst visiting Mudgee waiting for the birth of grandchild number nine, I came across THE SIGN, exactly as I imagined it! It seems I didn’t have an original thought, just one in parallel.
Bartco Electronic Fire Danger Rating Sign (EFDRS) with built in 20 minute self-monitoring and maintenance features, $11,516 ex GST.
NSW Rural Fire Service has moved to install EFDRS in many in high profile locations across the state. Why? Because they are effective! quickly updated as the fire danger escalates, and can provide vital situational information in the message screen.
Information that can be directed from a central location, adding to the public safety systems so necessary in times of crisis.
I venture that Queensland could benefit with a similar system, it would be of immense help for travellers in fire prone areas, just knowing that the information on the sign is accurate and the message displayed is pertinent, it would also take the onus off the dedicated volunteers making time to manually change FRDS’s, or often times, not!
I sincerely hope that the planned roll out of more manual signs does not generally go ahead and QFES considers upgrading to EFDRS in populated fire danger areas, it will happen eventually; good ideas are unstoppable once spoken.
Queensland RFB Volunteer Survey Results
Thank you to everyone who participated in and on shared Queensland’s first every Rural Fire volunteer gap survey July/August last year and for making your voice heard.
This gap survey had statements to be scored out of 10 for its importance to you with 10 being the highest, followed by a score out of 10 for performance for how well you think Rural Fire Service Queensland is carrying it out.
Doing this has helped us to understand what your expectations are on each statement (importance) and whether your expectation is being fully met (performance).
A high score on importance and a low score on performance indicates a gap that needs attention.
There were some excellent results that demonstrate that Rural Fire in Queensland is in a very healthy state.
Q19. There are no barriers to the roles women can occupy in my brigade. Was high importance of 9.4 and had a gap of only 0.4.
With over 25% of all brigade membership being women, Rural Fire is demonstrating that voting for officers and leaders now focuses more on tenure, rather than gender.
Q23. The environment at my brigade is volunteer-friendly, welcoming to new members and creates good morale. Was high importance of 9.31 and had a gap of only 0.79.
This high scores correlates with question 27 below and continues to exemplify the strength of diverse brigades meeting local community expectations.
Q27. Volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at my brigade level. Was high importance of 9.09 and had a gap of only 0.96.
The survey result that had the largest gap was:
Q26. Volunteers are effectively consulted and involved in decision making at Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner level. Was relatively high importance of 8.13 and had the highest gap of the survey with 2.93.
The RFBAQ will work closely with Deputy Commissioner Mike Wassing and RFSQ to ensure that the results of the national Survey are correlated against the QFES Survey to ensure the continued improvement in support for all Rural Fire Brigades.

   13   14   15   16   17