This page provides information for NSW RFS staff and volunteers. For community information about COVID-19, check the NSW Government website.

Monitor this page for any changes to advice. This page will be updated as information changes.

This information was last reviewed and updated on 18 March 2021.

Impacted locations

Current arrangements

All NSW RFS locations are now operating at NSW RFS COVID Response Level 1.

This means that normal activities may be held, however any COVID-19 restrictions should be followed, such as one person per two square metres.

The limit on the size of groups or meetings will be dependent on their location and the size of the venue.

Crew sizes in vehicles are limited to the number of seats available on the vehicle.

Members should continue to follow a high degree of caution by practicing hand sanitisation and physical distancing. Where physical distancing cannot be maintained, masks are encouraged.

The health and welfare of our members, and that of the community, is paramount and the Service will continue to monitor advice from NSW Health in case the situation changes.

Monitor for updates

The NSW RFS is continuing to monitor NSW Health advice and will provide updates as required, and is assessing the transition to the Service NSW app for site check-ins. Information will be provided on this in the future.

If you are feeling unwell, do not attend NSW RFS locations or activities. Stay home. Get tested.

The NSW RFS State Operations Centre (StateOps area) is accessible only to essential personnel.

COVID-19 Advice for Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Lismore LGAs

NSW Health has announced a number of new measures for the Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Lismore areas from 5pm today, due a COVID-19 case in the area.

The following restrictions will apply until 11:59pm on Monday 5 April:

  • Mask wearing will be compulsory on public transport, in retail stores, and in all public indoor settings
  • The one person per 4 square metre rule will apply at all public indoor settings including hospitality venues
  • The number of household visitors will be capped at 30, including holiday rental properties.

As a result of these new measures, members in the Tweed, Ballina, Byron and Lismore areas must wear a face mask where required, and are strongly encouraged to wear a mask while engaging in brigade activities in other locations such as where physical distancing is not possible.

Meetings and training sessions in indoor areas should be limited to one person per 4 square metres.

Members are also encouraged not to travel outside the area for NSW RFS activities, unless it is for critical operational reasons, such as emergency response. Strike teams for out of area flood clean up assistance have been adjusted.

All districts remain at COVID Response Level 1. This is being reviewed on a daily basis.

Monitor for health and advice and any changes in restrictions.

Current Advice for Staff and Volunteers

Operational Arrangements for 2020/21 Bush Fire Season

A COVID-19 plan has been drafted by the NSW RFS to provide guidance and allow for appropriate operational response throughout the 2020/21 bush fire season whilst ensuring all personnel remain COVIDSafe.

NSW RFS members should familiarise themselves with the 2020//21 Bush Fire Season Operational Arrangements - COVID 19.

This document outlines the steps to be taken to help reduce the potential impact of COVID 19 on operational activity.

This plan was drafted in consultation with and supported by other firefighting authorities and will be regularly updated as the situation and restrictions change.

COVID-19 Response Levels

The NSW RFS has established COVID-19 Response Levels to provide clearer advice to members as the COVID-19 situation changes.

State Operations will monitor public alerts regarding COVID-19 outbreaks and may assign a COVID-19 Response Level, based on health advice.

The Response Level may apply to a NSW RFS site or location, or all NSW RFS locations in a District or LGA, depending on an assessment of health advice.

The Response Levels outline actions for staff and volunteers in the area or location identified.

Staying safe at NSW RFS locations and activities

Consistent with current restrictions, meetings, training and events may be held, provided COVIDSafe practices continue to be in place.

COVIDSafe practices mean, where there is a NSW RFS activity or event conducted:

  • If you are feeling unwell, you are not to attend a NSW RFS activity or location. If you’re unwell, stay home and get tested.
  • Consider whether the event can be held remotely to limit face-to-face interaction, especially if there’s likely to be large groups or people who may be at higher risk of serious infection from COVID-19.
  • If the activity or event is being held face-to-face, follow the current community restrictions on physical distancing; including limits on the number of people allowed to gather in a space and the number of people per square metre in an indoor area.

The NSW RFS also encourages members to download the COVIDSafe app.

Responding to incidents

When responding to incidents, please consider the steps in the fact Sheet 'First Responder Attendance at Incident where a person has suspected or confirmed COVID-19'.

COVID-19 Vaccinations

Phase 1B of the COVID-19 vaccination rollout will begin on Monday 22 March 2021, managed by the Australian Government Department of Health.  All NSW Rural Fire Service volunteers are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Phase 1B. Vaccinations are not mandatory for NSW RFS members however you are encouraged to have the COVID-19 vaccine if you are eligible.

The Australian Government Department of Health has launched a COVID-19 Vaccine Eligibility Checker and Booking System to enable you to check eligibility, search local health facilities and book a vaccination if you wish to receive it. The Department of Health recommends you use Google Chrome to access this site, which is also smartphone-friendly.  The vaccination rollout is being managed by the Commonwealth Department of Health. The NSW Rural Fire Service is not involved in the distribution or management of COVID-19 vaccinations. You can read more about the booking system and identification needed here.

Notification of COVID-19 cases or suspected cases for NSW RFS members

The NSW RFS COVID-19 Response Action Process outlines the process for all NSW RFS members regarding Coronavirus notifications.

This includes notifications of members with symptoms, confirmed cases, and for members who return from overseas and are required to self isolate.

Importantly, if you are feeling unwell, do not attend NSW RFS facilities, activities or incidents.

Download the NSW RFS COVID-19 Response Action Process. This document may change as the situation changes.

Fact Sheets and Materials
Frequently Asked Questions

A set of Frequently Asked Questions is available here. These will be updated regularly.

Advice for visitors to NSW RFS facilities
  • Only essential visitors will be permitted to NSW RFS facilities, except in emergency situations.
  • The NSW RFS recommends alternatives to face-to-face meetings, including teleconferences or videoconferencing.
  • If you are scheduled to have a meeting at a NSW RFS location, contact the meeting organiser for advice and possible alternatives.