UFUSA Safety And Resourcing Campaign

Members have for some time been reporting an escalating number of calls for crews to assist our ambo comrades, and increasingly when there is no available ambulance (or sometimes even SAPOL) on the horizon.

The UFU is advised that the number of “Assist Other Agencies” calls has increased by around 60% in the last 12 months alone, greatly expanding the scope of work of members.

A majority of Firefighters turned out to these calls say they are keen to assist (as firies always are) and believe they can make a real difference. They note however that there is a large difference between providing CPR and addressing someone’s underlying clinical health issues. Many are rightly concerned at the practice “creep” absent any guidelines, training and resources, or indeed the necessary support mechanisms.

In 2019, members firmly placed the issue of training on the enterprise bargaining agenda and part of the union’s training claim in the EA negotiations has been for first aid training to be provided to all MFS firefighters by SAAS. That’s just to properly train us to carry out the duties currently performed by firefighters. This claim has repeatedly been denied by the employer.

Interestingly, the MFS is not funded in any way for these non-statutory roles currently being performed, and in the interests of patient safety and the psychological well-being of responders, a higher level of training and support are vital as a starter. Currently there is no Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the MFS and SAAS in relation to such assistance, setting out critical arrangements and guidelines for those involved.

The lack of a formal agreement has repeatedly been raised by our union with the Chief Officer over the last 2 years, as well as at the SAFECOM Board, and in EA negotiations, without resolution, or indeed any real action.

Our union observes with great interest the development of emergency medical responders (EMRs) or medical first responders in fire and rescue services in other jurisdictions however despite some media reports, this is not what is now sought by the UFU. Rather we seek that the employer regularise, resource and support the work we are currently doing to support our ambos in caring for the community.

The UFUSA welcomes the opportunity to discuss these and other matters on the Premier’s Task Force announced last week, and you can be sure that we are working closely and in solidarity with the Ambulance Employees Association (AEA) to achieve a sound outcome.

Meanwhile your EA Bargaining Representatives are vigorously pursuing discussions with the employer on the Enterprise Agreement with a meeting with the Minister for Industrial Relations Hon Kyam Maher scheduled for this week.

Thank you all for your fantastic feedback and we will keep you informed on any progress.
In solidarity,


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United Fire Fighters Union Of South Australia - UFUSA

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