FRV firefighters respond to a range of emergency incidents. They include fires, complex rescues, medical calls and hazardous chemical spills.
Our specialist technical operations teams support our partner emergency services agencies. They do this by responding to incidents across Victoria, Australia, and the world.
In Victoria, calls to Triple Zero (000) for a person who is unconscious, not breathing or has no pulse, are responded to by Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV) firefighters in addition to the nearest ambulance.
Since 2001, firefighters in metropolitan Melbourne have been trained to perform EMR as part of their emergency response role, being dispatched at the same time as Ambulance Victoria (AV) paramedics to life threatening emergencies. This EMR response was extended to outer metropolitan and regional areas in Victoria in 2008. Since 2011 the EMR program has been rolled out to all FRV stations in Victoria.
Since the implementation of FRV EMR the community has benefited from quicker response times resulting in improved outcomes for many patients. New data from Ambulance Victoria (Jan 2020) confirms that Victoria is one of the safest places in the world to have a cardiac arrest. FRV EMR is one of the positive contributing factors to this statistic.
Emergency Medical Response (EMR) aims to improve survival rates by reducing response times to patients in sudden cardiac arrest and other conditions that present an imminent threat to life. As a part of their role, FRV Firefighters can expect to attend a number of different medical emergencies such as; cardiac arrest, stroke, drowning, anaphylaxis and drug overdose.
FRV’s response to medical emergencies is additional to the normal ambulance response - firefighters do not take the place of Ambulance Victoria paramedics. Firefighters work with paramedics to provide the quickest medical intervention possible, in order to better the chance of survival. FRV EMR trained firefighters are currently first on scene at approximately 50 per cent of calls they are responded to.
FRV Firefighters complete specialist EMR training where they learn skills such as advanced CPR, supply oxygen and first aid, use of defibrillators and how to respond to many other life-threatening medical scenarios.
Once qualified in EMR, FRV firefighters are required to take part in ongoing training each year that is facilitated by Ambulance Victoria, to keep their EMR knowledge and skills up to date. They must also complete a recertification course every 3 years.
FRV Firefighters are supported in their role as emergency medial responders by clinical follow-up sessions provided by Ambulance Victoria as well as operational debriefs where questions can be answered and lessons learned.
FRV provides a broad range of services to their EMR Firefighters to support them to deal with the trauma they are exposed to in this role. These support services include psychological services, proactive and ongoing preventative mental health programs, regular wellbeing checks, counselling and coaching.
It is a high priority for FRV to ensure that it maintains a supportive organisational structure and team culture both on and off station to effectively support its EMR responders and keep them functioning at their best.
FRV firefighters attend road crashes and other technical rescues.
They are highly trained to use tools and equipment such as the ‘jaws of life’.
This equipment is used in complex transport, industrial or domestic incidents and rescues.
They also assist surgeons in operating theatres on occasion.
FRV fire investigators are trained to determine the cause of fires. They examine where and how a fire started, and any actions or equipment that may have caused it.
They also collect and analyse information and data that:
- prevents fires from occurring,
- improves building regulations and standards,
- determines if a product recall is necessary, and
- improves community education programs.
Our Fire Investigation and Analysis (FIA) Unit shares this expertise with, and works alongside, other agencies. They train FRV firefighters and other agencies in fire investigation.
Our High Angle Rescue Techniques (HART) technicians rescue people trapped at height or below the ground.
They use ropes, hauling and belaying systems to rescue people trapped in dark, tight spaces at height, or below ground.
HART technicians use these skills during complex rescues across Victoria.
Remote Piloted Aircraft Systems (known as ‘drones’) are revolutionising emergency response.
Our RPAS are equipped with thermal imaging and live streaming cameras to gather intelligence. This information improves community and firefighter safety.
RPAS is often used during large-scale bushfires, rescues, chemical incidents and other major fires.
Our RPAS pilots are trained to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) standards.
FRV marine firefighters are Waterway Emergency Responders.
They keep Victoria’s bays and waterways safe by responding to rescues, swift water rescues, fires, and other incidents like chemical spills on ships and in ports.
FRV’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team leads the state's response to major structural collapses and natural disasters.
These highly-skilled firefighters respond to structural collapses and natural disasters to rescue people. When necessary, they also rescue animals.
FRV provides USAR training to Victoria’s emergency service sector. This ensures the state has the skills needed to respond to major structural collapse situations.
FRV’s Hazmat teams respond to incidents that involve hazardous materials. This includes fires, chemical spills and chemical-related medical emergencies.
Scientific Advisors assist our Hazmat crews by finding safer ways to respond to incidents that might be hazardous.
Reviewed 02 June 2022