United Kingdom

Rural Fire Service bungles the most important press conference in years 

Emergency authorities have come under fire after an update about the statewide bushfire crisis was marred with technical glitches.

With a catastrophic fire danger declared for the the greater Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions, hundreds of concerned residents tuned into the NSW Rural Fire Service Facebook page on Tuesday morning to listen to the live feed of the first press conference of the day. 

But concern quickly turned into frustration and frantic panic as residents struggled to hear the important advice due to audio difficulties with microphones on the live feed.

There was no sign of the Auslan translator when NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian and NSW RFS chief Shane Fitzsimmons fronted the public for a bushfire update on Tuesday

'The volume of the feed is very low. I have full volume on my end and it’s quite faint,' one person posted.

Another wrote: 'Times like this make me wish I learnt sign language.'

Many resorted to switching on the television or relying on the subtitled captions. 

The low volume wasn't the only bungle.

Eagle-eyed viewers were quick to notice the Auslan interpreter relaying the advice through sign language wasn't in view until several minutes into the press conference. 

Eventually the Auslan interpreter (left) made it into screenshot on the Facebook live feed

'Please move the Auslan translator where people can actually see them,' one person posted.

One man added: 'Less of the guy in the white shirt and more of the Auslan interpreter please.'

Even the RFS's own brigades slammed the live feed.

'Auslan interpreter needs to be on the live feed not off to the side,' Mitchell Island RFS posted.   

Woronora Bush Fire Brigade added: 'Mic volume needs to increase.'

Hundreds of residents took to social media to vent their fury about the NSW RFS live feed

Others came to the defence of the NSW RFS and paid tribute to their firefighting efforts in recent days.

'The RFS is doing a phenomenal job. Terrible conditions and I hope everyone heeds the warnings. Stay safe, one woman posted.

Another added: 'Thank you doesn't seem enough to appreciate your dedication to keeping us as safe as you can! Thank you for your tireless effort, each and every one of you are amazing human beings and hero's! Thank you for your service!

A catastrophic fire danger declared for the the greater Sydney, Hunter and Illawarra regions on Tuesday had residents concerned. Pictured are recent bushfires on the NSW mid north coast

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