We are often told that fire and emergency services are likely to be sued for actions taken when responding to an emergency and that volunteers either aren’t protected from liability or at least fear that they will be personally liable for their actions as members of the emergency services.

My colleague, Steve Dovers and I, have written a paper that attempts to identify the reality of post fire litigation and to show that legal action at least against the fire services is very rare and not something that should weigh heavily on the minds of volunteers.  Our paper has been published as an ‘Online Early’ paper for the International Journal of Wildland Fire.  It will, eventually, appear in a hard copy issue of the journal, but until then you can access it at http://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/WF11094.htm.

We would like to express our thanks to the NSW Rural Fire Service and the NSW Treasury Managed Fund for allowing us access to their files in order to write this paper.

Michael Eburn
30 April 2012