CODE 2, VOL 34, NO 9 : 18 march 2020

Fire and Rescue Service Pandemic Response Plan

Many of you may have already seen the Deputy Commissioner’s advice on Monday 16th March 2020 relating to the Fire and Rescue Service Pandemic Response Plan (sent via internal QFES email). However, I would like to iterate the advice to ensure all members are aware of the major details.

QFES have raised their ‘Pandemic Preparedness Level’ to level 3 which currently means the following for operations –

• All community engagement activities to stop e.g. attending community events, charity or fundraising.
• All community education programs, unless related to COVID19, to stop – e.g. all education programs in schools.
• All QFES operational facilities to limit access to QFES staff and volunteers and auxiliaries. Where feasible only staff on shift and management teams to be on site at one time.
• All state and regional offices to limit access to QFES staff and volunteers only. If other visitors need to attend state and regional offices, where possible they should wash their hands and/or use alcohol-based hand rub before entering.
• Where feasible, meetings to be held by teleconference or videoconference to minimise senior management groups meeting face to face.
• When attending alarm calls at residential based facilities e.g. aged care, hospitals, prisons, detention centres - staff to be wearing P2 masks and gloves and to wash hands when leaving the facility, uniforms can be washed as per normal procedure.
• All international travel that is QFES sponsored or work related is suspended.
• All staff returning from overseas to self-isolate for 14 days – 13Health will provide advice and see attached guidance.
• In line with DFAT advice, all Australians are asked to reconsider the need for overseas travel at this time.
• All inter-state travel should be immediately reconsidered, with use of video conferencing facilities the preferred option, whenever possible.
• Inter-state travel which is business essential will require approval from your Deputy-Commissioner. Intra-state travel is a matter for regions to decide at this time based on operational needs.
• In line with Commonwealth Department of Health advice QFES staff, volunteers and auxiliaries to avoid all mass gatherings of over 500 people.
• Non – essential training to cease – further guidance to be provided. Note this does not include EMC DM training for local Government.

Attached to the Deputy Commissioner’s email was an information bulletin which included the above and several questions and answers relating to COVID-19 and Fire and Rescue operations. I encourage members to review this document. It can be found on the QFES Gateway here

I assure all members that the plan above has been developed and implemented following UFUQ involvement and we will continue to consult with QFES on any further response to ensure the safety and best interests of members and our communities are appropriately considered.

John Oliver - General Secretary 

Authorised by John Oliver General Secretary 
United Firefighters' Union of Australia, Union of Employees QLD