The National Fire Service Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey was offered to volunteers from fire services from across Australia for the third time in 2018.
Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association of WA (VFRSA) was pleased to participate again in the wider survey and offer the survey to Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS) volunteers for a third year.
The results of the survey for the volunteers who responded from VFRS are consistent with the results nationally from across participating fire service volunteers.
For VFRS volunteers the key outcomes were:
- Volunteers feel that there is not enough access to, or flexibility of training offered to volunteers by Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES).
- The most important issues to volunteers are equality and diversity and a welcoming culture, and DFES is performing well in these areas.
- Volunteers feel the time they devote to DFES is productive and worthwhile.
- Volunteers do not feel that they are consulted or involved in decision making at corporate levels of DFES.
- Management at brigade level needs some skill development in the areas of conflict resolution and dealing with human resource matters.
- Brigades are experiencing difficulties in recruiting and retaining younger people as volunteers
The National Fire Service Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey measures the Gap between what volunteers expect, and how close or far these expectations are from being met.
What is being done well?
Acceptance of diversity, equal opportunity had the smallest gaps between volunteer expectations and performance of DFES.
DFES volunteers also feel that the time they devote to DFES is productive and worthwhile.
89% of the respondents to the survey also indicated that they would continue in their volunteer role with VFRS and 88% would recommend becoming a VFRS volunteer to people they know. This goes alongside 86% of respondents indicating that they were satisfied with their role as a VFRS volunteer.
What needs to improve?
One of the biggest gaps, identified as needing immediate attention, relates to DFES providing enough training opportunities in formats, at times and at locations that make it easy for volunteers to participate. Volunteers also feel that DFES could provide more training in brigade management and human resources for brigade leaders.
Volunteers also feel that they are not effectively consulted and involved in decision making at the corporate levels of DFES.
The number of respondents indicating that they were satisfied with their volunteer role has decreased to 86% (was 92% in 2017) and only 76% were satisfied with the way volunteers are treated by DFES.
Thank you to all VFRS members who participated in the survey.
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