Canberra Times reports that firefighters have been forced to work from roofs during major storms without proper protection gear. David Livingstone, the union’s ACT branch secretary said that this issue has been raised repeatedly with ACT Fire and Rescue, but not much action had been done.
“It’s an issue we’ve raised with the brigade has had the equipment and the training materials for some years, I don’t know how long, they just haven’t implemented them.”
He also believed that money and time constraints were the main reasons why the fall protection measures were not implemented.
A spokesman from the Emergency Services Agency denied the union’s allegation saying that all recruits received training to safely work at roofs, and that firefighters were subject to proficiency tests when going for promotion.
The spokesman also added that ACT Fire and Rescue has 38 firefighters, 11 station officers and 2 commanders who are all competent to work on roofs and conduct vertical rescue on shift at any one time.
“Every fire truck carries sufficient ropes, harnesses and associated rescue and safety equipment for that crew to work on a roof,” said the spokesman.
“Additional and more specialist equipment is available on the dedicated vertical rescue vehicle at Kambah.”
He also said that new fall protection gears have been purchased and will be given to the firefighters following training.
Work Safety Commissioner Mark McCabe confirmed receiving the complaint on Friday. He said that they are still in the preliminary stages of investigating.
“We now need to go and look at the other side of the coin from the employer, and work out what we’re going to do,” said Mr McCabe.
“It’s a pretty important issue, but all we’ve got is that allegation at the moment.”