NSW Fire Brigades to change its name

Published: 17th December 2010

Emergency Services Minister Steve Whan today announced that the NSW Fire Brigades (NSWFB) will change its name to Fire and Rescue NSW from 1 January 2011.

The Minister said that the new name better reflects the services the organisation delivers to the community.

"The name Fire Brigades was coined 100 years ago and reflected the service for a long time, but today’s hardworking firefighters do much more than just put out fires,"Mr Whan said.

"The Brigades is now the largest provider of rescue services across NSW. Last year alone firefighters attended more than 9800 non fire related rescues, that’s equivalent to around one rescue every hour, every day of the year. 

"These rescues have included helping people in car accidents, industrial, confined spaces or height rescues, rescues from building collapses as well as animal rescues.

"By comparison, the Brigades attended 7500 structures fires in the same period."

Mr Whan said that over the last decade the NSW Government had overseen an unprecedented expansion and modernisation of the NSWFB.

"The NSWFB has a long and proud history of keeping the community safe and as our cities and suburbs have grown and changed, so too has the organisation.

"It’s now a multi functional emergency service that in collaboration with other agencies provides rapid responses to a range of urgent situations across the state.

"Our firefighters are professional and highly respected both at home and internationally and they work hard to provide fire and rescue services 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"Last year they responded to around 135,000 emergency calls. On average, every four minutes a red fire engine with a highly trained crew is racing to help someone in the community in their time of need."

Commissioner Greg Mullins said that rescue was now a major part of the work of a modern, urban fire service.

"Changing our name to Fire and Rescue NSW better reflects that we offer far more than just firefighting and fire prevention services. This will help people better understand that they can call on our help in a variety of situations," Commissioner Mullins said.

"We are a contemporary, service based organisation that has grown significantly since first being established over a hundred years ago and it’s time that our name accurately reflects the variety of work that we do.

"We have also recently undergone significant reforms and Fire and Rescue NSW symbolises our new direction."


  • Rescue includes rescuing people from car accidents, industrial, confined spaces and vertical rescue, rescues from building collapses and animal rescues;
  • Major rescues attended by NSWFB include:
    • 1989 Newcastle earthquake;
    • 1990 Grafton bus crash;
    • 1990 Cowan train crash;
    • 1997 Thredbo landslide;
    • 1999 Glenbrook train crash;
    • 2003 Waterfall train crash;
    • 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.