Following the release of a strategic review of the state's fire and emergency services, the search for feedback from those involved in the services has begun.
The review, undertaken by SA Fire and Emergency Services Commission chief executive Dom Lane, has looked at the main emergency risks faced in SA, and examined how the state's Country Fire Service, State Emergency Service and Metropolitan Fire Service have performed through the years.
Positives from the review included exemplary volunteer engagement and leadership in rural communities, good response times to emergencies, and a general sense that equipment availability was sufficient, yet with room for improvement.
Mr Lane said while the CFS, SES and MFS were working well together, greater cohesion was required to maximise efficiencies and minimise duplicated efforts, particularly in rural towns.
"It's no good having the CFS going out and talking to a community one day, the SES the next day and potentially the MFS after, it's about how you combine the right effort," he said.
"We've got to break down the differentiation between each of the agencies and work out who is doing what in these small communities, and also how we can best support each other.
"For example, if we want to build a new IT system or communication tower in a small town, let's not build three, let's build one that helps all. In NSW and the ACT, where significant progress has been made towards that, you do see the benefits," Mr Lane said.
Feedback will allow me to provide a better approach as to how we direct through the SAFECOM board, what we need to do, and allow us to provide improved advice to government.
During the past week, Mr Lane has travelled across the Eyre Peninsula, seeking feedback on emergency services from CFS and SES volunteers, staff and community members.
"There is clearly a stress on numbers in some parts and we have to maintain a constant focus on that, and work out what we need to do to make sure we can make it easier for those people who do this for nothing," Mr Lane said.
Other key feedback included the need to get more young people involved in the services, concerns regarding the increased amount of bushfire fuel due to stubble retention practices and increased tree growth in some areas, as well as concerns regarding capacity of telecommunications technology.
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Next week, Mr Lane is travelling to the South East to seek further feedback.
"Feedback will allow me to provide a better approach as to how we direct through the SAFECOM board, what we need to do, and allow us to provide improved advice to government," he said.
Following feedback, a new strategic plan for the state's emergency services will be conducted, beginning with the construction of a new headquarters in Adelaide where MFS, CFS and SES leadership will all be under one roof.
"Through that we will be able to build a unified executive to provide better support to our volunteers," Mr Lane said.
- To provide feedback, contact the CFS region at Naracoorte or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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