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Volunteer Support

Mental Wellbeing Support Services

Critical Incident Support Services - and Peer Support

We aim to lessen the impact of critical incidents on all NSW Rural Fire Service members involved and offer broad mental health support.

What is a critical incident?

By the nature of our work, NSW Rural Fire Service (NSW RFS) members may be involved in a traumatic event at some time. Such events could include the loss of life or property in bush or structural fires, attendance at motor vehicle accidents, search and rescue operations, or a serious incident involving fellow members. Members are affected differently by incidents as they occur during their service. It is the REACTION of the individual which makes the incident CRITICAL for that person, not necessarily the size or nature of the incident.

Mental Wellbeing Support Services (CISS/Peer Support)

Critical Incident Support Services (CISS) and Peer Support Services are available to all members of the NSW RFS who may be experiencing traumatic or every day stressful reaction.

The key goal

The key goal is to provide a positive way to cope with the effects of dealing with traumatic events and lessening the impact of critical incident stress on members and their families.

Information, support and referral

Information and support is available for NSW RFS members and their immediate families allowing them to gain a better understanding of critical incident stress and how to manage it.

The likelihood of serious problems building up over a period of time may be reduced when information and support is provided.

Information about the program or the effects of critical incident stress is available from CISS team members. Critical incident stress awareness sessions can be conducted by CISS team members upon request.


Confidentiality is maintained for critical incident support services provided. No information regarding the name, personal reactions, feelings, problems or behaviour of any member will be disclosed unless; it is required by law, to sustain life, referred to a clinical specialist or it is the expressed wish and with the consent of the individual concerned.

Where group assistance is provided, the agreement of confidentiality commits all participants to maintain the privacy of others in their group.

The team

Peer Support Officers (PSO)

PSO are recruited members of the NSW RFS specially trained to assist and support other members involved in operational critical incidents. PSO work on a voluntary basis and are available to provide a range of support services within the program including, information, education, and awareness about stress, resiliency and recovery.

Additionally, Peer Support Officers are available for broader mental health support applying mental health first aid and have the ability to refer a person to the appropriate professional services

Requests for assistance

Requests for assistance are welcomed from anyone within the NSW RFS and their immediate family members.

Contacts - Available 24/7

Please note - these services are available to NSW RFS members only.

- Critical Incident Support Services Team - 1800 049 933

- Benestar Member Assistance Program - 1300 360 364

Senior Chaplains and family support are also available