Firies still hot over uniforms
- BY:BARCLAY CRAWFORD
- From:The Sunday Telegraph
- October 07, 2012 12:00
FIRE and Rescue NSW has ordered an investigation into the rollout of expensive, new firefighting uniforms following fresh complaints they are riddled with faults.
In the latest incident, two firefighters hurt at a house fire in Bella Vista in Sydney’s northwest on Friday claimed their new uniforms contributed to their injuries.
One firefighter complained of burns to his legs while battling the blaze that ripped through a home in Adelaide Grove, while another said he felt physical discomfort while walking over the burning debris inside the home.
An 82-year-old man was flown to Royal North Shore Hospital following the fire, while a woman, 83, was treated at the scene.
Fire and Rescue NSW commissioner Greg Mullins last night confirmed a review has been launched into the rollout of uniforms, which have cost taxpayers $17.3 million.
Independent experts and union representatives would work with Fire and Rescue NSW and the manufacturer to identify and resolve the issues, a spokeswoman said.
Fire and Rescue NSW is also issuing an urgent safety bulletin to staff directing them to continue wearing long cotton pants under the new uniforms, she said.
The review comes after The Sunday Telegraph revealed the Fire Brigade Employees Union had been inundated with complaints from firefighters about the uniforms.
Firefighters say the outfits are poorly designed and riddled with faults. One of the biggest complaints is they are too hot to wear on the way to and from fires.
Union secretary Jim Casey said despite assurances the new gear was fine, “problems seem to keep occurring”.
“Our safety on the fire-ground is not negotiable and we need to be confident in the gear we rely on. If FRNSW can’t sort this then the FBEU will,” he said.