Yellow Ribbon Day fires up support for Rural Fire Service volunteers


Queenslanders are encouraged to don a yellow ribbon today in support of the almost 30,000 Rural Fire Service (RFS) volunteers committed to keeping their local communities safe.

Fire and Emergency Services Minister Mark Ryan said Yellow Ribbon Day (Tuesday, 14 September) was an opportunity to show thanks for the contributions RFS volunteers make to building a stronger and more resilient Queensland.

“The men and women who wear the yellow coat and drive the yellow truck from the more than 1300 brigades state-wide are there for us when we need them most,” Mr Ryan said.

“Yellow Ribbon Day is particularly relevant this week, as following a mild start to the bushfire season, many parts of the State are now experiencing an increase in bushfire potential, with high to very high bushfire danger ratings in some areas.

“Under these conditions, we can expect fires to start and take hold quickly, so everyone should have their bushfire survival plans up-to-date and be ready to enact them if needed.”

Mr Ryan said Yellow Ribbon Day, an initiative of the Rural Fire Brigades Association of Queensland (RFBAQ), was now in its eighth year, and the Queensland Government is committed to ongoing safety improvements for all RFS Volunteers.

“In the past financial year, these dedicated individuals spent more than 152,000 hours responding to incidents across the state.

“That’s an incredible effort and Queenslanders are fortunate to be able to call upon this support when the going gets tough.

“The safety of all volunteers needs to be constantly reviewed and at the forefront of what we do to protect the people that protect us.

“Together with the RFBAQ, the government is invested in improving safety and we are currently working through a number of trials, including upgrades to cab chassis and the inclusion of key safety systems such as roll-over protection and crew spray defence systems.

“These men and women spend countless hours away from family, friends and work to willingly give their time to help their fellow community members through some of their darkest hours.

“That’s something to be grateful for each and every day so, on behalf of all Queenslanders, thank you.”

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Commissioner Greg Leach said RFS volunteers provided a range of services to help keep Queensland communities safe, from frontline firefighting to behind the scenes community education and support.

“We are highly dependent on our volunteers before, during and after incidents, particularly in rural Queensland which represents 93 per cent of the state’s land area,” Mr Leach said.

“They play a vital role in helping landowners with fire mitigation activities and, with bushfire season now underway, will be called upon to protect lives and property when fire strikes.

“QFES has a long-term commitment to further improve the safety of all members of the RFS and we’re working through input from volunteers, and safety and innovation recommendations from a number of sources and engagement with the RFBAQ.

“We want all of our volunteers to come home safely each time they are deployed, and we are committed, together with the RFBAQ, to ensuring this happens by investing more in safety for our volunteers.”

As well as being on the frontline of emergency response, Mr Leach said volunteers also dedicated countless hours to training and upskilling.

“Our RFS volunteers are the backbone of their communities,” he said.

“I cannot thank them enough for their selflessness, time, dedication and commitment to Queensland.”

Rural Fire Brigades Association General Manager, Justin Choveaux, said Yellow Ribbon Day was a time to pay tribute to selfless volunteers.

“The members of the 1,400 Rural Fire brigades defend 93% of Queensland,

and Yellow Ribbon Day is when you stop to say ‘thankyou’ for what they do,” Mr Choveaux said.

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