The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) will introduce an Infection Prevention Policy to protect employees, volunteers and the community from COVID-19 and ensure the continuation of emergency services for all Western Australians.
The Department has a duty of care to all employees and emergency services volunteers and the community it serves.
From 1 December, all staff and emergency services volunteers who have not had at least one COVID-19 vaccination will be required to participate in a range of control measures such as wearing masks on duty or undergoing regular testing. These measures have been endorsed by the Chief Health Officer.
The policy will help protect employees and volunteers against any future COVID-19 outbreaks.
Only staff and emergency services volunteers who provide written advice from their registered medical practitioner or disability care provider may be exempt from these requirements.
Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said the policy was necessary for the safety of both emergency services personnel and the wider community.
“As emergency services we have an obligation to keep people safe and that means providing frontline services 24/7, 365 days a year, in all areas across the State,” Commissioner Klemm said.
“Protecting our own staff and volunteers against COVID-19 is a priority.
“The situation on the east coast has made it clear that the Delta variant is a genuine threat to our ability to maintain that, despite the strength of our controlled borders.
“For that reason it is absolutely critical that emergency services staff and volunteers are fully vaccinated or taking extra precautions to reduce the possibility of infection and transmission.
“We urge all staff and emergency services volunteers to get vaccinated ahead of the bushfire and cyclone season to ensure everyone’s safety.
“We cannot risk having a situation where we are unable to provide an emergency response to parts of the community when disaster strikes.
“Emergency services personnel frequently come into contact with some of the most vulnerable members of our community, including remote Aboriginal communities and the elderly.
“We will continue with consultation to ensure the right approach is taken to protect all staff and volunteers and the community.”
A targeted consultation campaign is underway to inform employees and emergency services volunteers that DFES is considering a range of options as part of the preparation of the Infection Prevention Policy.
Media Contact: DFES Media and Corporate Communications 9395 9543.