Also at the February meeting, Regional Manager Greg Esnouf and his team presented the North West Metropolitan Region's growth strategy. In this region alone the population is expected to grow by almost 240,000 people in the next 10 years; good, forward-looking strategies like this will address challenges to our service delivery.
The Chief Officer reported that the fire season has been relatively quiet to date, with no significant incidents but continuous medium fires across all parts of the State apart from Gippsland. Grasslands are 100 per cent cured over the State except Gippsland and parts of the Southern Metropolitan region.
There was also an update on Project 2016. Last year's recruitment campaign was very successful and it's expected courses will be filled into 2013. The average age of recruits in the first course is 30 with 30 per cent drawn from the ranks of our volunteers.
CEO Mick Bourke briefed the Board on Premier Ted Baillieu's visit to CFA headquarters in January. The Premier received an update on the peak fire season forecast from the Chief Officer, took the time to meet CFA members and observed a burnover drill to demonstrate CFA's critical attention to safety. He thanked CFA members for all they contribute to the safety of Victorians, acknowledging the risks many of you face.
The Board was advised that specifications for a ‘sand tanker' have been finalised by Fleet Services following a meeting with Rainbow members in District 17. Drawings will be available for comment in March. The heavy pumper build program is on track while the first heavy tanker cab chassis will be inspected to ensure their compliance with CFA specifications.
Construction is underway for 57 rural fire stations with the few remaining projects waiting for resolution of town planning issues.
The Chief Officer updated the Board on a pilot project, to be conducted in Loddon Mallee Region, introducing Compartment Fire Behaviour Training. This training incorporates the fire science associated with fires in modern building construction and will significantly improve firefighter safety. The training uses theory, simulations and case studies to teach tactics and techniques and will be made available to both volunteers and career firefighters.