Stations around the Central West will still open their doors to families on Saturday after Fire and Rescue NSW strongly condemned the union's decision to ban events across the Sydney, Illawarra and Hunter regions.
The Fire Brigade Employees Union issued a directive on Thursday afternoon banning officers from participating in Open Day activities this weekend due to the COVID-19 risk they could, or would, pose to firefighters.
Fire and Rescue Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell branded the move 'ludicrous', suggesting firefighters attending Open Day activities would be no different to going to the supermarket or cafe.
It defies belief that the FBEU would seek to close the doors of our local fire stations and stop a much-loved community event from taking place.Fire and Rescue Deputy Commissioner Jeremy Fewtrell
"It defies belief that the FBEU would seek to close the doors of our local fire stations and stop a much-loved community event from taking place," he said.
"The FBEU's assertion that we would risk the health and wellbeing of both our firefighters and the community is false.
Mr Fewtrell said the Open Day events - scheduled across the state - were planned in line with NSW Health guidelines, saying the FBEU exaggerated the community risk and implemented the ban without following the agreed dispute resolution procedures.
"The ban is inconsistent with other community events that are able to continue under NSW Health guidelines," he said.
That includes the likes of Orange, Canowindra, Narromine, Mudgee, Bathurst, Kelso and Blayney while the Dubbo Open Day will be held at Jubilee Oval, offering extra activities as one of several regional hubs formed for this weekend.
There will be another of those hubs at Bathurst Adventure Playground too.
The Station Open Days will follow online equivalents offered on May 13 and 14 and will run between 10am and 2pm on Saturday.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott backed Fire and Rescue's stance on the ban, saying the FBEU 'should not be playing politics with fire safety'.
"Open day is a staple of our community and helps to build resilience by reducing both the likelihood and impact of emergencies," Mr Elliott said.
"There will be many children across this state who will be very disappointed heading into this weekend."
More information about the Station Open Days, times and locations can be found on Fire and Rescue NSW's website.
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