New arrangements only affect metropolitan fire stations

Published: 5th November 2012

Starting today, Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) will introduce measures in metropolitan areas designed to curb blowout in overtime costs.

“With just one third of the financial year gone, approximately 70 per cent of the $10 million overtime budget has already been spent. We will now curb these overtime costs by using a long standing practice of moving fire fighting resources between metropolitan fire stations based on risk and need,” Fire & Rescue NSW Commissioner Greg Mullins said.

“Fire & Rescue NSW (FRNSW) has a sophisticated resource allocation model that will see firefighters from a small number of metropolitan fire stations being redeployed to cover areas of greater need when necessary.”

“With nearly 100 fire stations in the greater Sydney area and a well practiced system of deploying resources when and where required, FRNSW has the capacity and the capability to routinely move fire engines to areas of higher need.”

Commissioner Mullins said that the arrangements would only be in place at metropolitan fire stations where firefighters taking sick or other unplanned leave result in minimum safe crewing levels not being met.

“The few fire stations moved to cover staffing shortfalls will be covered by crews from other nearby stations,” Commissioner Mullins said.

The arrangements follow the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (FBEU) rejection of alternative measures for reining in overtime costs.

“These arrangements for staffing and resource allocation will address overtime costs while ensuring that appropriate levels of fire and emergency protection are maintained.

“These arrangements will have minimal impact on response times or fire services to the community and are no different to arrangements that have been standard practice for over 100 years,” Commissioner Mullins concluded.

For further information see the attached Q&A sheet.