SA firefighters among nation’s fastest first responders

Tuesday 09 February, 2021

A significant increase in the number of South Australian volunteer firefighters has been revealed in the Productivity Commission’s national 2021 Report on Government Services (RoGS).

It also revealed South Australian MFS and CFS are among the nation’s leaders for the fastest response times to structure fires.

The latest RoGS provide information on the equity, effectiveness and efficiency of government services in Australia, which includes a focus on the Marshall Liberal Government’s delivery of important services to South Australians.

The comprehensive Report covers the Metropolitan Fire Service (MFS), Country Fire Service (CFS) and State Emergency Service (SES) in the Emergency Services Sector.

It has revealed the state’s volunteer firefighter numbers increased to 765 volunteers per 100,000 people, compared to 754 volunteers per 100,000 people in 2019/20. South Australia now has almost 15,000 active volunteers in the Emergency Services Sector.

MFS and CFS response times to structure fires continue to be among the quickest in Australia, remaining steady at 9.8 minutes.

There was a noticeable reduction in rescue calls, including road crash rescues, from 7,263 to 6,629.

“On the back of last summer’s tragic bushfire season, the CFS had more than 600 members join the fight to keep South Australia safe,” Minister for Emergency Services Vincent Tarzia said.

“That incredible community response proves how much South Australians care about protecting this beautiful state and the people who live in it.

“The Marshall Liberal Government has dedicated $97.5 million in extra funding to make South Australia more bushfire resilient because there is nothing more important than protecting lives and property.”

SES statistical data is difficult to compare across jurisdictions because of different recording methods. However, Minister Tarzia said the state’s highly trained SES volunteers respond to callouts for emergency assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week without fault.

“Last year alone the SES responded to 6,730 incidents to assist South Australians,” Minister Tarzia said.

“They performed 739 rescues, removed 3,553 downed trees, attended 512 road crash rescues and helped in 45 searches.”

“On top of this busy work, more than 40 volunteers answered the call to support SAPOL with COVID-19 duties. Another great example of the Emergency Services Sector combining to keep South Australia safe from COVID-19.”