CFS Volunteers Must be Supported to Lend Extra Hand to Battling Ambos

The Opposition is echoing concerns expressed by Country Fire Service (CFS) Chief Officer Mark Jones who said increased demand on volunteers means they are performing above their standard duties. 

The Malinauskas Labor Government has confirmed it is investigating whether firefighters can be used as a stop gap measure to shorten response times to medical emergencies as the ramping crisis reaches unprecedented levels.

Since Peter Malinauskas became Premier, ramping has soared to dangerous levels - the worst in South Australian history.

This year hardworking CFS volunteers have already responded to approximately 1,000 medical incidents. 

Shadow Minister for Emergency Services Adrian Pederick said Peter Malinauskas cannot view country firefighters as "volunteers that ca just plug a hole". 

Peter Malinauskas was elected to 'fix the ramping crisis', not to heap huge amounts of extra pressure on our wonderful CFS volunteers," Mr Pederick said.

"If the Malinauskas Labor Government wants more help for our battling ambos, further training and upskilling of volunteers is non-negotiable, otherwise CFS members will be hung out to dry when attempting to deal with complex medical incidents. 

"Detailed guidelines would also need to be established to identify what callouts the CFS would be required to respond to.

"Our CFS members do a fantastic job attending fires and other incidents including road crashes, but adding extra pressure on these volunteers will significantly impact attraction and retention in the service. Beefed up mental health support will certainly need to be provided if volunteers attend more complex cases. 

"This idea really needs to be though out properly with expert advice and input from the CFS."

Last month, the Opposition called on Peter Malinauskas to consider utilising Australian Defence Force or emergency services personnel - as is done in other states - to drive ambulances in case of staff shortages. Personnel wouldn't be required to perform complex medical duties. 

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  • Adrian Pederick