What is the Rural Fire Service?
There is no fire and rescue service coverage in rural, semi-rural and some urban fringe areas of Queensland. The Rural Fire Service (RFS) is the volunteer side of Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES), and provides fire services to 93 percent of Queensland. The RFS is made up of approximately 32,000 volunteers, including 2400 Fire Wardens, who make up approximately 1400 rural fire brigades.
Although there is a general perception that the main role of RFS volunteers is active firefighting, there is much more to being a member of a Rural Fire Brigade.
What services do rural fire brigades provide to communities?
Members of the RFS and your local rural fire brigade provide a range of services to help keep Queensland communities safe.
Rural Fire Brigades respond to the outbreak of fires within their local area and in surrounding areas in support of other rural fire brigades and emergency service workers.
Rural Fire Brigades, in conjunction with RFS staff, undertake a range of planning and preparation activities throughout the year to ensure communities are well prepared for the fire season. One of these activities is hazard reduction burns. Hazard reduction burns use fire to reduce excess vegetation and minimise the potential for bushfires to get out of control.
There is an increasing awareness that timely and effective fire prevention and education saves lives and property. Rural Fire Brigade members deliver a range of community education programs within their communities. The local knowledge held by members of the brigades, along with their knowledge of fire behaviour and prevention, ensure the community gets information and education specific to their circumstances.
Permits to Light Fire
The RFS controls the use of fire by not allowing fires to be lit without a specific permit. Fire Wardens and authorised fire officers manage the permit to light fire system. A permit to light fire
is required for any fire that exceeds two metres in any direction and can be acquired free of charge from a fire warden.
Deployments and assistance during disasters
RFS volunteers are often sent on deployment to assist other states during fire disasters. Members are also called upon to assist other emergency service agencies during disasters such as floods and storms.
How do I become involved in the Rural Fire Service ?
Joining the RFS is a great way to get involved in your community, to meet new people, make friends, develop networks, and learn new skills.
The RFS needs all types of people, with a wide range of skills to help keep your community safe. There are a number of roles available including firefighting, community education, fundraising, administration and more.
As a member of a Rural Fire Brigade you have the opportunity to not only help protect your community, you will also meet great people and make new friends, become part of a team and learn a range of new skills through the wide variety of training available to you.
Rural Fire Service Regional Offices
The RFS has offices throughout the state. Regional Offices are located in Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Maryborough, Charlton, Beenleigh and Brisbane. The Regional Manager in each location is responsible for ensuring operations are co-ordinated and managed within the Region.
The support services provided to volunteers by RFS include:
- Volunteer and brigade support from RFS staff,
- Uniforms and Provision of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE),
- Workplace Health and Safety guidelines and support,
- Access to geographic information systems,
- Training and development,
- Workers compensation,
- Protection from liability, and
- Counseling and support services.