FRV delivers for Victorians in 2021-2022

Wednesday, 21 December 2022 at 3:15 am

Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) delivered on its commitment to keeping communities safe from fire and other emergencies, responding to more than 60,000 incidents, and educating the community about fire prevention, its 2021-2022 Annual Report shows. 

The Report, which has now been tabled in the Victorian Parliament, showcases the dedication of the 3,888 operational and 628 support staff in their delivery of a 24-hour, seven days a week, 365 days a year emergency service to Victorians. 

Despite the challenges COVID-19 presented, FRV responded to 63,455 incidents, averaging 174 per day, within the FRV and CFA Fire Districts. This is a 6.4 per cent increase from the 2020-2021 period. Types of incidents included: 

  • 11,316 Fires and explosions 
  • 7,405 Rescues and other medical assistance 
  • 7,317 Emergency medical response 
  • 4,139 Service calls 
  • 27,841 Alarms and false alarms (FRV’s Alarm Assessment Unit gauges whether charges are applicable based upon information from the Station Officers of the attending crews)   
  • 5,219 Hazardous conditions (not a fire) 
  • 218 Other situations 

FRV has 85 fire and rescue stations (68 in metropolitan Melbourne and 17 regional stations). Most regional stations are co-located with the community-based volunteer fire service, CFA.  

“All partner agencies including CFA and its volunteers are vital to Victoria’s fire and rescue service capability and FRV proudly works alongside them in the delivery of emergency services to Victorians,” said Gavin Freeman, Acting Fire Rescue Commissioner. 

FRV delivers a safe and sustainable fire and rescue service and educates communities through prevention programs that improve safety and build resilience.  

In the 2021-2022 period, FRV increased proactive engagement with Victorian communities and significantly reduced the average number of preventable fire fatalities from 18 to 12.  

“This result can be attributed to FRV and CFA smoke alarm campaigns and the continuous work of FRV’s At Risk Groups Unit”, said Michelle Young, Deputy Commissioner Fire Safety. 

FRV also extended its support for older Victorians and those living with a disability via a fire safety education program called Prevent Detect Escape. Jointly launched by FRV and CFA in June 2022, Prevent Detect Escape is much-needed considering that 62 per cent of people who die in residential house fires each year in Victoria are living with a disability. 

“While everyone is at risk in a house fire, there are definitely some people in the community who are at higher risk”, said Deputy Commissioner Young. 

FRV and its emergency services partners are committed to changing this shocking reality and will continue their advocacy, through home and community care networks and support care providers, to help make people living with a disability safer from fire. 

Community service is at the heart of what FRV does and was evident in the way staff demonstrated their ongoing commitment to community and workplace safety ensuring the achievement of a 98 per cent COVID-19 vaccination rate in the 2021-22 financial year.  

FRV is in its second year of operation and is one of the largest fire and rescue services in the world. FRV achieved numerous milestones, including taking steps to improve response capacity in regional Victoria.  

“FRV plays a role in Victoria’s State Control Centre and regional control centres, which allows Command staff from all agencies to work together and respond to emergencies right across Victoria," said Acting Commissioner Freeman. 

FRV also delivered a 93.7 per cent response rate for Emergency Medical Response (EMR), which exceeded its performance benchmark of 90 per cent.  

FRV’s EMR trained firefighters co-respond with the nearest ambulance to Triple Zero (000) calls for patients who are unconscious, not breathing or with no pulse. 

“Our firefighters work with paramedics to provide the quickest medical intervention possible, in order to improve the patient's chance of survival and are first on scene at about 50 per cent of incidents they attend,” Acting Commissioner Freeman said. 

Another landmark moment was FRV’s pioneering advocacy and influence on world policy. In June 2022, Mick Tisbury, Assistant Chief Fire Officer (ACFO), and Commander David Hamilton, presented to the United Nations Stockholm Convention about the detriments of the continued use of harmful per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in firefighting and emergency services.  

“By presenting to state governments, the Australian Government, international forums, international firefighting agencies and at the United Nations, FRV is reinforcing its commitment to a PFAS-free future”, said ACFO Tisbury. 

As a result of this advocacy, in June 2022 the Stockholm Convention voted to globally remove exemptions from the 2019 ban on the use of PFHxS – a type of PFAS.  

FRV’s essential marine response received a boost in resourcing during the period with the addition of two new, state-of-the-art vessels. These new vessels enhance FRV’s marine capability, enabling specialist crews to deploy to 10 incidents far more effectively. 

FRV is implementing a 10-year strategic plan and is committed to delivering on its vision for safer and more resilient communities.