@Matt_KeanMP

Data you’ve never seen compiled on our Australian fire services

CCFRNSW

For listed corporations, an annual report reads like an opus magnum which outlines the company’s major achievements, missions, strategic outlook, future concerns and goals. No ifs and no buts. The chair and CEO write glowing puff pieces about their achievements and why you, the shareholders, should keep them doing their jobs! Fire chiefs also write about the achievements during the year, every year.

Therefore when studying the language within the last 10 years of annual reports of the state fire services around Australia, why is ‘climate change‘, the words that 29 former fire chiefs told us is such a big factor, barely mentioned, if at all? Take Fire & Rescue NSW’s only mention of ‘climate change‘ on p.81 of its 2018/19 Annual Report,

Where practicable, FRNSW crews were encouraged to turn off all non-essential lights on 30 March 2019 from 8:30pm until 9:30pm, joining millions of people worldwide in showing their commitment to tackling climate change and inspiring all generations to support environmental initiatives and sustainable climate policy.

That is it. No words saying that the ‘catastrophic climate emergency’ preached by a 16-yo truant will lead to devastating increases in bushfires…Further evidence that we can sleep sound at night knowing that some (not all) firefighters might have switched the lights off for 1 hour on one day. So much for instilling a sense of unbridled panic preached by the retired fire chiefs…that’s right one mention of the word ‘climate change’ in 6 years.

Wasn’t Greg Mullins’ most important leadership role to warn NSW residents of the danger of climate change while in the top job? Wouldn’t it have been important to document those ‘climate’ fears in the annual reports that are presented to parliament each year? Clearly not. Best do it when sponsored by advocacy groups. Unfortunately, the ‘lack’ of acknowledgement by the fire service senior management surrounding climate change is an indelible mark by its very omission.

The chart above highlights the number of times the word ‘climate change‘ was mentioned in state fire authorities’ annual reports since 2010/11.

The QFES mentions ‘climate change’ 28 times in its 2018/19 annual report as it references an earlier report written on the subject. Prior to that, there are very few mentions.

Tasmania’s TFS notes ‘climate change’ alongside terrorism and economic downturn as things to watch in its 2015-16 annual report but makes no further in-depth reporting on global warming.

The Victorian Metropolitan Fire Brigade (VICMFB) mentioned climate change once in its 2011/12, 2012/13 and 2013/14 annual report but it only refers to the federal department that includes the name ‘climate change’ as a footnote. In 2018/19 the VICMFB refers to an “awareness” of climate change but it hardly sounds like a definitive statement.

Note that in 2011/12, FR NSW mentions climate change twice – once in the index and a loose passage that refers to it potentially having impacts. Yet FR NSW makes no determination by virtue of its own personal experiences. Note in 2010/11, ‘climate change’ is mentioned eight times by FR NSW but even then it refers to the IPCC research, not the findings of its own in-house data.

Let’s get this straight. If climate change was such a huge flashing red light issue in 2010/11, why no mentions between 2012 and 2017, a time when alarmist Greg Mullins was Chief Commissioner of FR NSW?

FNF Media encourages readers to save the following link for future reference. It is the 678-page IPCC internal review tabulating qualitative feedback on the processes of how it compiles the very climate bibles our media and governments swear by. A few excerpts comfortably debunk the credibility of the science contained within.

On page 16, someone complains that:

“some of the lead authors…are clearly not qualified to be lead authors.”

Here are other direct quotes:

There are far too many politically correct appointments, so that developing country scientists are appointed who have insufficient scientific competence to do anything useful. This is reasonable if it is regarded as a learning experience, but in my chapter…we had half of the [lead authors] who were not competent.” (p. 138)

“The whole process…[is] flawed by an excessive concern for geographical balance. All decisions are political before being scientific.” (p. 554)

“Half of the authors are there for simply representing different parts of the world.” (p. 296)

Even those from minority backgrounds agreed (p.330):

“The team members from the developing countries (including myself) were made to feel welcome and accepted as part of the team. In reality, we were out of our intellectual depth as meaningful contributors to the process.”

Remember this is the IPCC evaluating itself. Imagine if this was a topic that wasn’t related to climate change. Would you be concerned at diverting billions of taxpayer dollars against such woeful governance and amateur approaches to compiling data and legislating policy? Exactly. Frightening!

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The alarming part of the annual reports published by the state fire fighting authorities is that they don’t contain much in the way of words that the laymen would expect to see e.g. hazard reduction or fuel load. However, there has been an explosion in words such as diversity and inclusion. These two charts below outline clearly where the shift in purpose would seemingly lie.

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inclusion.png

Note that Californian power utility PG&E took this approach. The company had absolute clarity on the breakdown of gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity of its workforce and suppliers. Sadly it had woefully incomplete data on the age and status of its infrastructure (aka its core business) which caused the scheduled blackouts and forest fires. Unfortunately, because of this focus on diversity & inclusion, it dropped the ball on providing the very service its customers paid for and is now bankrupt. Get woke, go broke.

Forgive FNF Media for being blunt. If your house is at risk of burning down, will you be secretly praying that the emergency crew sent to put the fire out ticks the diversity box or competency box? If you prefer inclusion over ability, then don’t complain that your prized possessions have gone up in smoke. It is such an irrelevant metric to focus on all of this warm and fuzzy data without reporting the very actions that we should be benchmarking the brave men and women who actually serve in the capacity of firefighters.

We can wail at climate change as the cause of these dreadful bushfires or accept the sickening amount of people arrested for arson.

Sorry to keep labouring the point. We should conduct a thorough audit of the fire services to determine whether they have lost their way in deprioritising the safety of the very people they are supposed to protect for the sake of woke causes. Make no mistake, we cast no aspersions on those who work as first responders.

We hope that people drop their climate alarmist/denial bias and take a cold objective view of the data. Take out the emotion. Seriously, does the only comment in the latest FR NSW annual report surrounding voluntary ‘Earth Hour’ participation strike one as making meaningful impact on climate change?

Perhaps we appear cynical but when we see alarmist former fire chiefs sound the alarm on climate change, we could have at the very least expected consistent, comprehensive and extensive data/research “on the record” while they were in a position to do so. They didn’t. Those actions really have the alarm bells ringing!

NSW Rural Fire Service statistics – where your tax dollars go

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The media has been quick to pick on the calls for our government to spend more on our fire services. We thought it a good idea to look at the facts gleaned from the annual reports of the NSW RFS, available here. We will go through state by state in the coming days and look at the totals to work out where our money has gone. What you are about to read may surprise you.

The first chart denotes the NSW RFS budget. The 2018-19 budget was $554mn, up from $311mn 5 years prior, or a 78% increase. One would expect that money would be spent on shiny new toys to help fight fires.

NSWRFS FT.png

As we can see, the number of fire trucks in service has trended down. From a peak of 4,385 in 2014/15 to 3,883 in 2018/19 or down 11%. There could be an argument made for replacements to more efficient equipment but in order to put out blazes, sheer numbers should help

NSWRFS WP.png

Water Pumper numbers have fallen from 71 to 63, or -11%. Water carriers have fallen from a peak of 64 to 53, or -17%.

NSWRFS WC.png

When looking at the number of grass or bushfires that were dealt with the trend looks as follows.

NSWRFS Bushfires

When assessing controlled burns, the total area in hectares by year that was conducted is as follows.

NSWRFS CB.png

However, when dividing by the number of controlled burns conducted by year, we see that the average slid from 259ha per burn to 74ha. This is not proof of efficacy.

NSWRFS CB PC.png

How has the trend of the brave and selfless volunteers at the NSW RFS progressed?

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Employed staff at the NSW RFS has increased from 846 in 2012/13 to 936 in 2018/19.

NSW RFS FT Emp.png

With that, average salaries have crept up from $114,285 in 2012/13 to $131,908 in the latest filing. In no way is FNF Media casting aspersions on the value of those full-time employees.

NSWRFS FTE Salary Avg.png

Although the growth in the Chief Commissioner’s total remuneration has grown from $292,450 in 2012/13 to $439,015 in 2018/19 or a 50% increase over that period.

NSW RFS CC Salary.png

Running the RFS is no simple task. Hiring good people to run the operation shouldn’t be done on the cheap.

The reason FNF Media has suggested that the fire services need a thorough audit is to work out whether tax dollars are being spent wisely. Since 2012/13, $2.75bn has been spent on the NSW RFS. Are we right to question why a rising budget has led to a drift in equipment and a fall-off in volunteers? Can we link the reduced average burns in some way to the very high level of fuel loads that many volunteers have pointed to within all of the current political grandstanding of chucking more money at the problem instead of evaluating the efficacy of that spend?

Because to look at the data on a stand-alone basis, it would seem that the ball has been dropped somewhere. It doesn’t seem plausible that firefighters can be short of vital equipment when there was a $140mn extra spent last year. Only $15m went on extra salaries. Stands to reason that there might be a problem within the decision making processes in the senior management echelons of the fire service that warrants closer inspection.

That is a job for you Gladys Berejklian