Firefighters Steve Purcell, Ben Squiers,  Stephen Sharp and Bruce Ransome with Lismore MP Thomas George, Tweed MP Geoff Provest,  James McTavish and Supt Gary McKinnon on the border.
Firefighters Steve Purcell, Ben Squiers, Stephen Sharp and Bruce Ransome with Lismore MP Thomas George, Tweed MP Geoff Provest, James McTavish and Supt Gary McKinnon on the border. Liana Turner

Firey relationship breaking down barriers

STATE borders might be little more than a line on a map for most of us but for our firefighters, Queensland is another world entirely.

With hydrant and hose connectors made differently on either side of the border, the void between the two states can be significant.

But that's being addressed under a new Memorandum of Understanding between Fire and Rescue sects in New South Wales and Queensland announced this week.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest said the agreement, which has come out of the Queensland and New South Wales Statement of Principles and Priorities for Cross-Border Collaboration MOU, would make the lives of firefighters in Tweed Heads easier.

He said smoother radio communications would make this more achievable than ever.

The need for this was made clear in a recent incident where a woman was rescued from a third-storey apartment on Wharf Street, Tweed Heads.

Tweed Heads Fire and Rescue station officer Stephen Sharp said the woman was seriously injured, and the help of Queensland firefighters meant her dignity wasn't compromised.

Normally, she would have been lifted at awkward and uncomfortable angles, Mr Sharp said.

But Queensland crews made an aerial lift platform available to them, meaning the woman could be gently rescued.

Fire and Rescue NSW Northern Region chief superintendent Gary McKinnon said this was a vital collaboration which would grow even more valuable as the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games drew near.

NSW Cross Border Commissioner James McTavish said it would help to better provide services to Tweed and Gold Coast communities.

"I think that being able to collaborate these operations... is important in keeping our community safe,” Mr McTavish said.

Lismore MP Thomas George, whose electorate shares a border with Queensland from north of Murwillumbah in the east to the western edge of the Tenterfield Shire, said ongoing collaborations between the two states would improve emergency service delivery.

"Residents can rest assured that their cross-border concerns are being heard,” Mr George said.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services zone commander for the Gold Coast Greg Tomlinson said it was vital for them to have close connections between crews at Bilinga, Tweed Heads and Banora Point.

"It's about having a good working relationship,” Supt Tomlinson said.

"At the end of the day, what we need to see is seamless operations.”

Border busted

Fire service co-operation is just one way state governments have been working to make life easier on the border.

Domestic Violence Orders became nationally recognised last month, so offenders cannot breach orders across the border without consequence.



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