After 33 years serving as a volunteer firefighter with the NSW Royal Fire Service, 20 of which he has served as a captain, Adam will soon be forced to stand down because he has failed to formally disclose his vaccination status.
A moral and ethical decision, Adam is actually triple vaccinated, but believes that the RFS is overstepping boundaries by requesting personal medical information from their volunteers.
NSW RFS was the last emergency service to announce the requirements having made the announcement on February 14, yet in a statement in the same month, it was revealed that close to 80% of its 2000 fire brigade’s said that they ‘either support mandatory vaccination or would be no worse off it was introduced.’
But in the same statement also said ‘424 brigades did not support it, or there would be a significant impact on the brigade’s ability to respond to local emergencies.’
Whilst government statistics show nearly 95% of people aged 16 and over are double vaccinated, Adam said he didn’t understand why mandates on volunteers were necessary.
Unfortunately, mandates have affected so many people across the country across a vast range of professions.
“At what point do we say enough, no more? The government has been managing our lives for the last two years and at what point do you say, hold on, I’ve had enough of this.”
Adam will no longer be allowed to respond to emergency calls as of June as he, and other RFS volunteers in the same boat, will be moved to a reserve list.
“I have a document in front of me from the commissioner, and it said only 29 percent of volunteers have responded so far. I don’t work for the commissioner, I work for the people of NSW,” He said.
With only 29% of RFS volunteers having complied, disclosing their vaccination status, RFS said they are working hard for more volunteers to respond. ‘The RFS will also be urgently working to increase the number of volunteers who have reported their vaccination status to the service.’ The statement read.
‘It’s expected this process will be complete by 30 June 2022 at the latest, and members who are unable to prove their vaccination status will be moved into “reserve” membership category. This means that reserve members may only be used at the authorisation of the brigade captain, where an operational response can not be carried out due to lack of available members. In these instances, reserve members will be restricted to response in their local area only.’
Despite volunteers conducting an early survey which indicated most volunteers who participated in the survey were happy to introduce the mandate, with only 29% actually complying so far, there are growing concerns it could lead to huge and detrimental reduction in volunteers, with the effects reaching out to the public during times of emergency as a result.