The New Zealand Earthquake:
Our hearts go out to those affected by the New Zealand earthquake. I have passed on our thoughts and condolences to Mike Hall, the National Commander of the New Zealand Fire Service. The Urban Search and Rescue response from Queensland and New Zealand has evoked a number of questions as to why a Victorian team was not dispatched. Under an International USAR plan, Australia has two international teams only. These are Queensland and New South Wales. Other state teams are intended for domestic use in the first instance. Please be assured that CFA has been part of a comprehensive plan developed to offer resources and capability to New Zealand, should a request occur. Regional Manager Trevor Andrews, from the NZFS, who has been on secondment with CFA since October last year has been an important information link to New Zealand. At this stage a contingent of Police from Victoria and Australia has been requested and DSE are sending a small number of logistics personnel to set up a base camp as a contingency for emergency service personnel at Christchurch. We are ready to be part of an integrated support force if a request is made.
Home Bushfire Advice Service
Who looks after home when you go away to a bushfire? Who looks after your family? Often our people are doing such a good job helping others that they forget about their own homes. CFA recently launched the "Home Bushfire Advice Service" and is proactively visiting properties in high risk areas across the State to support our communities. This is a one on one service and will provide individual advice relating to bushfire planning, house defend ability and vegetation management. I encourage all CFA members who live in a high bushfire risk area or know family and friends who live in these areas to make contact with your Region office to arrange an appointment.
Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program:
The Minister, Hon Peter Ryan MLA, opened a new volunteer grants program at Surf Life Saving Headquarters on Sunday. This is the Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) 2011/12, formally CSESP. Guidelines and administrative arrangements are now being finalised prior to guidelines and flyers will be sent out. Application packs will be sent to Brigades and Groups secretaries next week. All documentation will also be available on Brigades on Line - Brigade / Property & Equipment / Brigade Owned Vehicles in the next few days. Check the CFA Connect on the following link: - http://www.cfaconnect.net.au/news/new-volunteer-grants-program-opens.html
The Pack Hike Test:
Fighting bushfires is a physically demanding occupation and therefore firefighters need to be physically fit to work safely and productively. Many firefighting agencies use the Pack Hike Test to determine fitness for duty. The test involves a 4.83 km hike over level terrain carrying a 20.4 kg pack within 45 minutes. Check the Bushfire CRC Fire Note, with CRC Project Leader Dr Brad Aisbett, highlighting key points from a recent review of the history and development of the test and its relevance and validity to Australian bushfire firefighters. The Fire Note, and all previous fire notes, are on the Bushfire CRC website at: http://www.bushfirecrc.com/firenotes
Expect To See More Of Senior Headquarters CFA Officers:
Recently the Operations Leadership Group resolved to develop a schedule to "get out and about" more regularly. "Active management", engaging with, monitoring, listening and observing is a very important part of modern day management and leadership. Each DC/O and Manager in CFA Operations will be allocated at least four Districts to "mentor". The role will include visiting each District Planning Committee at least once every 12 months and establishing a mentorial relationship with the District Operations Manager. A similar "visit list" to career fire stations is also in preparation.
Quote of the week:
"If a man is called to be a streetsweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause and say: 'Here lived a great streetsweeter who did his job well'."
-Martin Luther King Jnr