Fatigue and firefighting
Exhaustion is a concern for all firefighters
Date: 18 October 2013
Location: Cragan Bay Road, Nords Wharf, near Catherine Hill Bay
Photographer: Phil Hearne, Fairfax Media
"This image went viral online and received more than four million views around the world," wrote the photographer, Phil Hearne from Fairfax Media.
"Driving through the fire affected area was very eerie.There were fallen, burnt-out trees along the side of the road and not a person in sight. I had been shooting all morning when I saw NSW RFS firefighters lying on the road. They were all exhausted. Within seconds, a truck came around the corner and they jumped back into action.”
The crews had been working through the night in horrific and dangrous conditions in Catherine Hill Bay. Brothers Matthew Jones-Power, 24 and Joshua Jones-Power, 17 from the Wallarah Rural Fire Brigade commented:
"That was pretty crazy," they said, "we just stopped for about two seconds to catch our breathe. We were waiting for the fire to come up to the road; we needed to take a break when we could..."
Joshua was in the middle of his HSC exams and had taken time out to fight the fires.
"The support from the photo is really encouraging," he said, "And makes us love our community even more."
Imagine you are a leader for a crew of firefighters on the fireground, how would you ensure that they do not fatigue?
Fatigue management identifies the need for appropriate breaks, particularly in the first 24 hours of an incident, managing shift lengths and shift times and appropriate travel times.
All fire trucks have sufficient non-perishable rations and water for a 24 hour period.