A Bushfire brigade is one of the key services that many of you provide to protect your communities from bushfire threats. These brigades are usually staffed with volunteers from within the community and the work they undertake is often in very high risk environments. Therefore, those of you who have bushfire volunteer brigades are required to obtain and keep current insurance for volunteer fire fighters in accordance with the Bush Fires Act 1954 (prior to 16 September 2017) and the Fire and Emergency Services Act 1998 (as amended) Part 6B.
To assist you to satisfy this obligation, LGIS included bushfire protection as part of the Scheme offerings in 2012 and this has continued to date to ensure your bushfire volunteers are adequately covered.
The Bushfire protection policy includes the following:
- Personal injury
- Motor vehicle and plant damage
- Personal property
- Third Party Liability
A volunteer fire fighter is defined as a bush fire control officer, a person who is a registered member of a bush fire brigade established under this Act or a person working under the direction of that officer or member.
Coverage applies when a volunteer fire fighter is carrying out normal brigade activities which are defined by the Bush Fires Act 1954. The bushfire insurance information sheet (pdf) explains what normal brigade activities are in more detail.
Protection applies when a volunteer fire fighter suffers from an injury caused by undertaking normal brigade activities. The entitlements mirror the Workers Compensation and Injury Management Act (1981) and follow the prescribed amounts as gazetted by WorkCover WA every year.
In the event that a volunteer is injured, priority should be given to seeking medical treatment. Once the volunteer or his/her representatives are able to, they can lodge a personal injury claim with you and then you can forward it to LGIS for processing.
Volunteers who are members of a local brigade may sustain accidental damage to or loss of their personal property whilst they are actively engaged in duties designated to them and deemed "normal brigade activities".
Personal property is generally considered to be clothing and items normally worn or carried on/ kept with the person. This includes items such as glasses and mobile phones which can be lost or damaged whilst the volunteer is performing their duties.
The Scheme will consider claims for personal property under these terms and should loss or damage occur we would encourage the volunteer to report the matter to their supervisor or bushfire control officer for advice around submitting a claim to the LGIS.
Third Party Liability
Whilst conducting activities during fire control and fire control management practices there may be instances where volunteers need to act decisively in order to reduce or mitigate risk of the spread of fire.
As a result of this there may be an occasion where damage to property or injury to third parties could occur and a volunteer may be considered personally responsible. Whilst there are immunities under relevant and appropriate legislation available, the Scheme will also provide cover for volunteers who are acting in accordance with the duties assigned to them and in accordance with The Bush Fires Act 1954 (as amended).
Should any volunteer be made aware of any likely action against them personally, they should report the matter to their supervisor or bushfire control officer for advice around submitting any claim made on them to the LGIS.