OT&V Training Conference
Chief Officer's Intent
In the implementation of the 2012-13 Annual Business plan, and in activities undertaken by CFA Fire and Emergency Management, I thought it would be appropriate to put forward some form of overarching intent statement. Therefore, in implementing our 2012-13 business plan, consideration is to be given to the following Chief Officer's priorities:
1. Focussing on delivering our mission and supporting our front-line people to deliver community safety outcomes.
2. Maintain and develop our operational service delivery capability.
3. We will strive to work with other agencies and with the community as one integrated fire and emergency management force.
4. We will continue to improve and develop our capability and capacity for managing major incidents.
5. We will continue to adopt the philosophy of Mission Command (which includes strengthening our capability for local command and control and managing by "principle" rather than by prescription).
6. Resources will be applied taking into account the principles of risk, equity, continuous improvement and the recently issued Chief Officer's Principles For Allocating Resources.
7. We will continue to build and develop our leadership team. This includes articulating our desired organisational culture.
8. We will take care of each other, be nice, and serve the community.
On 23rd October, 2011 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth approved the regulations for a new medal in the Australian Honours System - the National Emergency Medal (NEM). This medal was established to recognise service to others during a nationally-significant emergency.
"We're All In This Together":
This catch-phrase was the theme of a Bushfire Emerald, Clematis, Macclesfield and Menzies Creek Brigades Awareness Expo held recently at the Emerald Hall. Organised by the combined leadership team from, the day was a resounding success. Hundreds of people from the local community visited displays and exchanged views with DSE, VicPol, Parks Vic, Cardinia Shire, Bendigo Bank, St Marks Church, Emerald & District Co-op and the Emerald Community House. The State Aircraft Unit flew in Helitak 333, a Bell 212 Helitanker, which was a hit with everyone. The Expo included 4 "workshops" on fire prevention, leaving early and staying and defending planning. Another popular demonstration was a "burn table" on loan from DSE. Hessian is stretched over a steel frame which is set up with fuels and angles to simulate actual fire behaviour. This is a great learning tool. I was impressed and inspired by the huge effort that went into the planning and the unified passion for community resilience that was evident from agencies and from the public. A fantastic effort! Well done!
State Bushfire Command And Control Arrangements:
Recently the State Fire Control Team and the Fire Services Commissioner signed off on the revised arrangements for bushfire command and control for this fire season. I commend the document to you and encourage you to thoroughly read and familiarise yourself with the arrangements found at:
Recognising CFA Service During The 2009 Bushfires:
The 2009 bushfires are etched in history and in the memories of so many CFA members. For some time now, the Board has been planning that CFA member service over the 2009 Gippsland fires, Black Saturday and the ensuing campaign fires, be recognised. Recognition will be in a number of ways:
State forum for Community Safety for Volunteers:
Ali Martin from the Member Engagement Project advises of a Forum for Community Safety on 15-16 October. The state forum aims to build volunteer capacity and capability to deliver the Bushfire Safety Policy messages. Our emergency management and community engagement models have significantly changed since Black Saturday. This is all part of continuing the skills development of our front line people to ensure we build resilient and self reliant communities. This is a great opportunity to not only support and reward some of our volunteers for their great work in this area, but to also develop a stronger and enlarged team of "volunteer community safety champions" around the State.
Important Bushfire Safety And Fitness Information From Bushfire CRC: David McLoughlin, of the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre advises of two important Fire Notes that were published last week. He tells us that Dr Brad Aisbett's team at Deakin University continues doing ground breaking work on the health and safety of bushfire firefighters. In the first, Firefighter Health and Safety, Dr Aisbett presents an overview of the Bushfire CRC work to date. In the second, Hydration of Australian Bushfire Fighters, principal author PhD candidate Jenni Raines, looks specifically at how much fluid bushfire fighters need to stay hydrated on the fire ground. Essential reading for all firefighters. These fire notes and all previous issues can be found on the Bushfire CRC website at: http://www.bushfirecrc.com/firenotes
Women Leaders in CFA: My previous article on women in CFA sparked a lot of reaction. Amongst other comments, many wrote to correct my comments about women in leadership positions in CFA. SO Jessica Walsh from Sunbury observes that of the 15 female career firefighters in CFA, there are four leading fire-fighters, one station officer, and two senior station officers (one with operations officer qualifications). Thus, nearly half are in operational leadership roles. SSO Michelle Snow has acted as an Operations Officer. We have Josephine Sensi an SSO, SO Jessica Walsh and four Leading Fire Fighters in Reenie Cook, Kelli Russell, Natalie Brindle and Paula Treacy. A number of female firefighters are currently working towards their Leading Fire Fighter assessments.
In recognition of CFA members who provided outstanding service to Victorian communities during the fires of 2009, a call for nominations for bravery awards is being sent out to CFA members this month. The call will be made via a letter co-signed by the Chief Officer and myself, included in the latest edition of Brigade Magazine. We encourage those who know a CFA member deserving of this recognition to put forward a nomination.
Chief Officer's Commendations to Melton Six: This week it was my pleasure to recognise six members of the Melton Fire Brigade with Chief Officer's Commendations. SO Jason Hirt, LFF Daniel Baker, VFF's Belinda Phillips, Alexia Cooney, Trevor Rickards and Paul Strachan were recognised for their actions in averting a tragedy associated with a house fire on 16th September 2010 at Comic Court Melton. The timely actions of the crew resulted in a quick knockdown of the fire and subsequent discovery, assessment, removal and treatment of a casualty from the building. The actions of the crew played a significant part in his survival. The situation presented itself with several complexities, which were successfully managed. For their actions, each member was awarded a letter of Chief Officer's Commendation. Congratulations to the Melton six on a difficult job done well!
An Australia Day Reflection:
Happy Australia Day! Today is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate so much that is good. Whilst life is full of everyday challenges and disappointments we often take for granted what a great country we live in. We enjoy a standard of living and a culture that so many others across the globe can only dream of. Those distinctive aussie characteristics of mateship, determination in adversity, helping your neighbour, and always looking for the positives – even when the chips are down, define our people and our country. Of course there is one other defining characteristic of Australia, and that is the volunteering ethos. We are one of a handful of countries where many important functions are carried out by volunteers. Be it meals on wheels, firefighting, surf lifesaving, caring for the land or caring for vulnerable people, volunteering is a strong and essential part of the fabric of the Australian way of life. CFA epitomises what it is to be Australian.