Tasmanian Volunteer Firefighters Award Framework

At the time of the establishment of the TFS Volunteer Award System, (1999) considerable discussion has occurred in many and varied quarters relating to the lack of “volunteer recognition” within the Fire Services of Australia, including our own, the Tasmania Fire Service.

The Tasmania Fire Service administers two existing “Awards: as part of the Australian Honours System, namely:

  • The National Medal.
  • The Australian Fire Services Medal.

 Both of these awards are well established, however they are available to only operational personnel (ie career and volunteers).

The National Medal is awarded for 15 years diligent service. The service may be a combination of service in a number of areas including the armed services pre 1984.

The Australian Fire Service Medal is awarded for “distinguished” service and is the highest honour awarded to fire service personnel in Australia. Tasmania has a limited issue each year, at the time of writing three (3) AFSM’s are available. This is not to say that on each annual occasion, they are all awarded. Some 12 months prior to the actual acceptance of the TFS Volunteer Awards System a working party consisting of representatives from both Volunteer Firefighter Associations in Tasmania sought to establish a “volunteer award system”

 “By the Volunteers for the Volunteers”.

A number of credible reports on “Volunteerism” all recognise and acknowledge that “volunteer recognition” appears to be lacking.

Subsequently with the financial assistance of the State Fire Commission, the Volunteer Firefighters Associations in Tasmania have made available the TFS Volunteer Medal & TFS Volunteer Award to both operational and non operations volunteers respectively. The thrust of the awards, whilst not designed to be openly distributed, are achievable to the average volunteer who is committed to his or her brigade and has provided diligent service with integrity.

The following “Conditions & Regulations 1999” have been accepted by the Tasmanian Volunteer Fire Brigade Association and the Tasmanian Retained Firefighters Association either directly or indirectly via meetings held in May/June 1999.

Similarly, the volunteer fire fighter associations via the Tasmania Fire Service, have sought recognition of the “medal & award” through the Tasmanian Government thus providing it with State Award Status. (Official status – as a State Government Award was received towards the end of 1999)