Wendy Avers, Region 14 & 15
We are one we are many – but together we are a partnership
Paul Verbeek, North East Area
No matter where you are in the CFA, whether it is in an IMT, on the fireground, in a regional office or at HQ.
1 thing that you will consistently see at CFA locations across the state, is at least one bald person.
It’s something that affects everyone from the top down. In some cases people actually shave just to be bald
There is no distinction, it has no malice, and it has no bias.
It’s much like the CFA.
Graeme Lynch, Call Taker, Fire and Incident Reporting System
It doesn’t matter what role you have within the CFA you’ll be affected in some way by the Camaraderie within the CFA.
When something happens to any one of us, (there are about 60,000 members of the CFA); we are affected in many different ways.
There will come a time when at a Function, the Big Day out, a Fire or Incident or even over the radio, you will hear a voice and immediately say “I know that person”, but where from? Then it will dawn on you it was an incident you went to last week, last month, last year, or it may have been the ‘BIG ONE’ twenty years ago but you still remember them.
When a call comes in that our fellow fire fighters across the state need assistance. You’ll join a Strike Team and head off half way across our state and maybe become involved in a major campaign that could last for days. It is this Camaraderie that makes us get up and go to their assistance.
During your time there you meet up with new mates or ‘MATES’ from years ago and carry on conversations as though it was only yesterday. You will look out for each other on the fire ground to ensure that we all return to our home safely after the job is done.
As we all leave the fire ground on our journey home there is that last cry, “SEE YOU AT THE BIG ONE”, that could be tomorrow or next week, next year or hopefully another twenty years down the track.
This is a bond that is unique within the CFA; “Yes Camaraderie is rife in the CFA”.
Simone McPhail, Barwon-Corangamite Area
I believe this word sums up most of the others that have already been posted.
People CARE enough about their communities to work for CFA, either volunteering or paid staff…. This care is shown as commitment, concern, integrity, honour, nobility, strength, inspiration. Because people CARE, they look for excitement, challenges, diversity, opportunities. They commit to knowledge and change. As a result of their CARE they enjoy the reward, sacrifice, satisfaction and excitement. They understand that CFA is dynamic, essential, unique and vital. They are cool, engaging and genuine whenever it is required. They wouldn’t be in a position to display these qualities if they did not CARE.
Communities CARE that they have CFA respond to their incidents… They feel reassured knowing that CFA is able to respond, they display gratitude when a fire has ripped through the town and CFA have done all that they can. Tears are nearly always encountered if CFA responds – sometimes sadness for their losses or joy because CFA cared enough to help them save their town, cat or child…
People CARE about their mates in the brigade they turn out with or the people they work with in the office, they enjoy all aspects of CFA – training, fundraising, socialising, responding …. Camaraderie, families and mateship are all built on caring about one another. Multiculturalism and teamwork stem from caring about a common goal, not about where you come from or what you look like.
People CARE enough to commit their time to a worthwhile and much needed emergency service.
CFA families CARE enough to come together and lend their support when times are tough. Just recently my own son was sick – not as serious as most at the Royal Children's Hospital, but enough to make you aware of the most important things in your life. During that time, my own colleagues and Managers were caring enough to allow me time to be with those who needed me most – my family – but they also let me know that they were thinking of us and were there if we needed them. This CARE helped in what was otherwise a scary time in our lives.
So I believe, in a word, that CARE sums up all the other words that are used in this competition. I have felt it when it was needed most.
Ben Linnett, Shepparton U.F.B.
CFA is challenging through the ideas put forward in training and learning, the situations faced everyday on the fire ground, through the personal comfort zones that can be crossed and exited, through the trauma that has to be faced and the challenge of mates helping you through, the challenge facing fear and adversity and accepting that challenge and taking it head on and succeeding, and the challenge of working successfully in a team. Some of the challenges are negative, but all challenges assist CFA members to grow and find future challenges easier to accept, progress through, and succeed at.
Brendan Brown,Midlands Wimmera Area
Commencing as a volunteer member with CFA in 1977, I’ve seem massive change in CFA both with the organisation & wider community. Change is sometimes implemented as a necessity to meet internal evolutionary needs of an organisation & externally to service the tenability of the organisation.
CFA has met the need for change in both spheres (not without some heartache & growth pains) and moved forward to embrace change to mould the world class organisation that is seen today. The change has not been without cynical views; however these in the majority of cases don’t reflect defiant or destructive opposition, but an alternative view that is healthy for any organisation.
Today my role as an employee dealing with CFA’s statutory obligations has the proven ability to influence a change in buildings & also change in the natural environment.
Within the building sector I have proven that a process of change is in place once CFA has inspected an older building provided comments for a change in fire safety measures to upgrade early warning systems, methods of egress & onsite suppression systems, and the buildings are safer that before CFA entered the building.
In the natural environment influencing the change in land holders understanding, that they can live in the natural environment, subject to understanding key principals of managing vegetation (& not clear felling all the vegetation within sight), being prepared, vigilant & developing a fire plan for their individual situation.
Change is all around us & continuous, our part in change is to be involved for the betterment of our organisation & the wider community.
The concept of community volunteering
Teamwork – being part of a team
Assisting the community to be aware and prepared for fire
The truth of the matter is that if there is no "committment" then no other word is valid as well. You can't be happy, for quick or experienced or wonderful or anything else if there is no "committment".
Kath Hunter, Sale
CFA staff and volunteers are committed to the Communities in Victoria.
Jeff Nunn, Yarrawonga
24/7 when ever, where ever. Summer or Winter doesn't matter.
Gary Enders, Barwon/Corangamite Area
The CFA is an integral part of the history and future of the Victorian communities. It serves the community, is made up of the community and relies on the community for support and acceptance. So closely is the CFA linked to our communities as they grow so do we and as they wane so does CFA in that community. CFA has been there in some of the darkest hours of Victoria’s history and also been there to share in its achievements. We can be one or we can be many, but CFA will always be part of the community.
Martin Flanagan, Wycheproof
Part of the Local Community of where we live & work.
Part of the Victorian Community where we assist other areas of the State
Part of the Australian Community where we come to the aid of our Interstate brothers & Sisters
Part of the World Community where we travel Overseas and work with Local Fire Services
And finally part of the Fire Fighting Community where we compete against, socialise with, interact with, & enjoy the company of fellow Fire Fighters from the world over.
Nick Yoannidis, Melbourne
When you join the CFA as a volunteer, your reason for joining will be one of many.
However, it isn’t long before you realise you did more than just become a volunteer fire fighter. You actually become part of the CFA community and the broader community in your area.
You will meet people from all walks of life because volunteers are a varied breed and the variety of activities you become involved in will also expose you to people in your local business community and social support community. Activities such as Brigade fundraising, charity fundraising drives and organising blue light discos as well as other community activities will be regular occurrences. Social events such as Brigade specific functions or joint functions with other Emergency Service Organisations are common occurrences. Invitations to BBQ’s, parties and celebrations of birthdays, up coming marriages and engagements will be regular events.
So if you don’t want to become exposed to all sorts of new experiences you may not otherwise have, make new friends and make all sorts of contacts in your community a well as dramatically increase your social life in a variety of ways do not become a CFA volunteer because it is unavoidable.
CFA - part of the community, here for the community, to benefit all the community.
Christine Dent, Stanhope
Community best describes the CFA.
What is community? The Oxford Dictionary defines community as "joint ownership, identity of character, fellowship,organised political, municipal or social body of people living in same locality, place providing social and other facilities for a neighborhood, body of men having religion,profession in common".
The CFA is one huge "community" made up of many many others, all united
with one common goal - "creating safer communities".
Because you don’t only get to help out in your own community but when you go away to incidents anywhere else in the state or country you automatically become a part of their community too.
Lachlan Sutherland, Larpent Rural Fire Brigade
The CFA to me is all about Community. It’s the Community that makes the CFA and it’s the Community that the CFA serve. As a CFA Volunteer, we fight fires and defend other people’s property in the hope that, in the event that if our properties or families are under threat, others will be there to help us.
Jeanette Craig, Westernport Area
Our concern covers a vast area - the welfare of others, wether it be a fellow brigade member, a member of the general public or a workmate. We are especially concerned when they become victims/casualties of incidents we attend whether it be at a house fire, MVC, bushfire, storm damage etc.
When we get out of our nice warm bed at 3am, or we leave our best friends engagement party, or we miss our children opening their presents at 6 am on Xmas day – all of these things and many more, show our concern for others and that we are always ready to go to their assistance.
Geoff Deacon, Melbourne
Thesaurus.com describes Consummate as “Best” and offers a number of Synonyms
Able Absolute Accomplished Complete Conspicuous Downright Faultless Finished Flawless Gifted Ideal Impeccable Inimitable Matchless Out-and-out Peerless Perfect Polished Positive Practiced Ripe Skilled Superb Superlative Supreme Talented Thoroughgoing Total Trained Transcendent Ultimate Unmitigated Unqualified Unsurpassable Utter Virtuosic Whole
All these words can be used to describe CFA’s ideals, while we may not be able to claim each of these as achievements they all represent where CFA’s almost 60,000 people are directing us with their passion and hard work.
David Box, Beechworth UFB
Cool : is the time I spend doing the right thing with my brigade for friends, family and community
Cool : is what I'm supposed to be thinking when an emergency requires me.
Cool : is the best way to leave a job when it's well done there's no heat equals no hassle.
Cool : is the refreshments waiting for me back at the station after being a CFA community firey.
Cool : is everyone's response when we've done our job well.
Greg 'Chappy' Chapman, Hallam Fire Station
The CFA has evolved over the past eighteen years and gives definition to all aspects of its delivery of service to Victoria.
i.e. Latest SOP’s, the volunteer charter, guide lines for field operations clearly defined, and MOU’s with various other services.
Robert Hogan, Melbourne
Diverse people performing diverse roles in diverse locations…with the commitment and discipline to become one in the cause of protecting Victoria.
Mick Hayes, Melbourne
This is due to the fact that the CFA is many things to many people, it’s a protector, a saviour, a friend, a hobby, a workplace, a life. The CFA can mean all these things to one person even, it's not just an organisation that fights fires, for those who work in it and with it is often a major foundation of their life. It is the focal point of many communities and is a great way to meet new people making the CFA the focal point of many friendship groups around the state. So all these things and more, make the CFA a Dynamic organisation, for the 60,000 families connected with CFA and also for all the communities protected and cared for by the CFA.
Amanda Weir, Melbourne
CFA at its essence is characterised by continuous change, activity and growth. As time progresses and new obstacles arise, such as increasingly severe weather patterns, the CFA adapts and constructs new ways of dealing with situations. The incidents we attend make the CFA an intense, fast paced organisation which is, by the very definition of the word, dynamic.
Rob McVey, Melbourne
At the core of our motivation and behaviour lies our ability to see the needs, feelings and problems faced by others. Our opportunities in the CFA to provide, support and care for those in need extends not only to the communties in which we service but so too amongst ourselves. That same understanding and closeness we share beneath the CFA umbrella, ensures we not only exercise compassion through awareness but can provide relief through prevention, preparedness, response and recovery. Everyday when I see CFA responding to calls for assistance, I see empathy for others during their greatest time of need.
Trevor Vienet, Clonbinane
The word that best describes CFA for me is ENGAGEMENT.
It is a labour of love and a devotion to the local community. In our rural area the CFA is the only identifying body; we are marked on the map as a locality only, but the establishment of a CFA fire shed gives us a community. Engagement can also imply a question- What keeps us as members and why do we belong? Is it getting woken up a 2am by the frightening shrill of the pager? Or is it the dragging of heavy hose lines through charcoaled destruction in 40 degree heat with that northerly blowing? No, it is because we are not alone in these tasks but with our mates, neighbours and even other family members. This work is shared with enthusiasm knowing that the only reward is the knowledge that we did our best. Engagement can also have another meaning such as going into battle. At times it is like a battle. We are reassured in that although we might be a small community fire brigade, we belong to an army of 60,000 strong volunteers that are there to back us up as soon as trouble in our area is too big for us to take on by ourselves. We are confident that all the training that we do has prepared us for what ever situation we may face when we climb on the truck for a call out.
Engagement is belonging and being missed when you are not there and knowing that your mates in the CFA are looking out for you and your family.
Tim Bruechert, Bendigo Fire Brigade
To me, this word describes the significance of the two most intrinsic benefits which CFA contributes to communities throughout Victoria today. First and foremost, preparedness. This is the essential adeptness of every CFA brigade to successfully protect its community by training for a variety of emergency events.
Second, and of equal importance, is that CFA brigades bond and nurture a social cohesion which is an essential ingredient to the general wellbeing of every Victorian community.
Louise Brennan, Horsham
So many people to meet and such a diverse organisation.
Rod Johnston, Melbourne
CFA is a fabric of fine threads which weave through each other, supporting others where ever they cross.
Some of the threads are courage, others might be commitment, perseverance, strength, resilience, passion, knowledge or wisdom and there are many more.
The fabric is woven by vision, leadership and trust. This gives the fabric its integrity.
The threads of our communities also weave through the threads of CFA. This makes the fabric very strong.
Christine Daly, Melbourne
Mark Vallance, Shepparton Fire Station
Sue Williams, Knoxfield
The biggest and the best, people who actually care about each other – and that’s a rarity in these times. It doesn’t matter where you go, you instantly have something in common with people all over our state – indeed right across our vast country. You always look for the hose drying pole or aerials when you arrive in a new town - just so you can check out “what they’ve got”. Whether you’re a volunteer or an employee (or both), you can call into any station and say “hi, I’m XXX from YYY, was wondering if I could have a look at your station, they’re more than happy to oblige.
Raelene Green, Westernport Area
Working as a BASO in the Westernport Area and assisting 5 volunteer Brigades, I have noticed that each Brigade is unique in its make up and members, but that they are all a tight-knit family unit. If one member is having problems at home or needs help moving etc, the other members are always there to help and support the person in need.
Living in a different state to my family myself, CFA has become like a second family to me. Between my work colleagues and the Brigades that I look after which have all accepted me into their own unique Brigade Families. CFA is a common bond, and I am proud to be part of this unique family structure.
Marilyn Hill, Region 11 Headquarters Brigade
A dedicated group of people united by their common attitude towards the safety and well-being of their community; who work together and care for each other giving encouragement and support in the good times and the traumatic times.
Peter Anliker, Belgrave
CFA is Family
That cares for you
And protects you
CFA goes the extra mile
Shares their knowledge with you
And prepares you
CFA gives you comfort
Being there when you need them
Any time of day or night
CFA has 58’000 volunteers
Their time comes for free
Dedication - No question
CFA is Family
Fiona O'Loghlin, Melbourne
CFA has shaped my life in so many ways. I am lucky enough to work for CFA as well as volunteer for this amazing organisation. Through CFA I have met my husband, who I now have a gorgeous daughter with, made so many life long friends who I cherish everyday; and have learnt the meaning of community. I am a better person for being a CFA member and it has changed my life in so many ways. CFA will be in my heart FOREVER.
Denise Foster, Rosedale Fire Brigade
Friends is a word which describes it all.
Rick Read, Hallam Fire Brigade
When the community calls, someone is usually facing a genuine crisis.
CFA members who respond to that call, have a genuine concern for that person.
The responding CFA members have the skills, knowledge and experience to deal with that crisis through thousands of hours genuine hard work, training and commitment.
That person; and that community; have genuine appreciation for the actions of those CFA members who answered the call to help during their crisis.
The process is repeated hundreds of times a day, every day, every year.
CFA is a genuine contributor and pillar of the Community.
Glenn Charteris, Geelong West Fire Brigade
Gratitude is the word I would choose for my choice.
It is how I feel when I leave a town we have saved from a bushfire or some sort of disaster.
And when we are leaving the township, people are out in the streets young and old clapping and cheering us,
as we leave their town that we have saved from imminent danger.
This is all I need and it gives me a big lump in my throat when I think of it.
This is why I’m a volunteer knowing that I have done something for someone else in need.
I have been involved with CFA for many years and it is a great feeling to be able to contribute to the community when in need and to make lasting friendships with members of similar interests.
Chi Keen Low, South Warrandyte Fire Brigade
The CFA is there to HELP those in trouble - fire, accident, locked in car, cat in tree, etc.
The CFA is there to HELP the community - Brigades in Schools, fetes, etc.
The CFA is there to HELP the members - training, personal growth, support, etc.
Rachel RENDALL, Dandenong Urban Fire Brigade
Honour represents CFA, and is what I feel when I talk about my role as a volunteer with CFA.
The role of a firefighter is one of the most honourable occupations, and I feel pride and humility when I mention the fact I am a CFA volunteer to people and they say to me "wow… that's amazing. Such a great thing to do for the community".
I am honoured to rock up to a job and help out where I can, in whatever capacity that I can…
I am honoured to go away on strike teams across Victoria and interstate, and to see the little signs that farmers put up on their fences "THANK YOU CFA!"...
I am honoured to attend other events within my role as CFA, such as the Westernport Food Drive last year, or the Dandenong Agricultural Show...
I am honoured to talk to people about the work the CFA does in the community…
I am honoured to know my fellow career firefighters, and to be treated as part of the team at my integrated station…
Most of all, I am honoured to be accepted as part of the CFA Family. To know that my contribution is valuable, and to know I can rely on the friends that I have made throughout my time as a volunteer, through thick or thin…...
To be part of such an honourable occupation fills me with pride, and a real sense that I make a valuable contribution to our society.
Mike McDonell, Murrindindi/Woodbourne CFA
I have chosen ineffable as the core of the CFA - its members, the number of volunteer hours, the sacrifices members and families make, the risks they take and the community spirit that prevails is all too much sometimes and even if there are CFA members I do not know and I hear of what they have done or are achieving tears surface and a lump in the throat is evident. Rural Australia cannot survive without the unselfish acts of so many volunteers. We really should be a proud nation.
Darren Matthews, Melbourne
The more of CFA you are exposed to, the more you understand how much you don’t know. CFA is continually evolving and expanding. New people are joining everyday and they bring with them qualities and experiences that change us. CFA is in many ways infinite and for that reason I remain optimistic about it’s capacity to improve and adapt to the future.
Eric Collier, Somerville Fire Brigade
CFA people continually amaze me with their courage, persistence and resourcefulness, and their ability to keep on keeping on, no matter how heavy the pressure or how hard the work. When you are tired beyond exhaustion, you are inspired to keep going by the other members of your team. When the situation seems desperate, with little hope of success, the team that stands together is inspired to overcome almost any obstacle.
Our rich tradition and proud history of successful emergency management inspires current members, and in turn will inspire future generations of firefighters.
Our skills, knowledge and ability to do the job well inspires the community we serve to have faith in us and our ability to protect them.
CFA - an inspirational organisation that is much greater than the sum of its parts.
Michael Wassing, Region 2
A word commensurate with CFA in our approach to business. We do what we say we will, with the view of making things better for others. It is also a key trait our volunteers and career personnel should always strive to maintain to ensure the community we serve can have the utmost trust in our abilities and services.
CFA is all about learning, be it in a training session or on the fire ground, you never stop gaining knowledge. The acquisition of knowledge is the one thing that you can never lose. You can apply any aspect of knowledge you pick up from CFA in your day to day job (if you are a Vol) or in your personal life. It's all useful.
The practice may be different but often the principals will remain the same.
Karyn Bothe, Casterton Urban Fire Brigade
Since joining the CFA my life has been changed forever. In 2006 I held my breath and walked in to what I knew to be an almost all male brigade, not really knowing what I was in for and that was when my life changed. Although a stranger in town (I had only been here for a couple of months) I was immediately welcomed and included in the training happening that night. Since then I have been encouraged to do new things and included in whatever I have chosen to be involved in within the brigade. The challenges that have come my way are so totally different to anything I have had before. All my friends and family back in SA couldn't believe it when I said I was volunteering with the CFA as I had never even thought about it before.
I would recommend CFA to anybody who wants to fill their life with LIFECHANGING experiences.
Tony Bundock, Narre Warren Fire Brigade
CFA in a word? MAGIC.
And the reason why? I have been in CFA as a volunteer firefighter for nearly 18 years now and I cannot think of any other organisation that would have given me so many challenges, such interest, rewards, friendships and a sense of satisfaction and community spirit as the CFA. What other organisation could conjure up such excitement and rewards!
It is fair to say that every day is different as a volunteer, and I intend to further my involvement for at least another 18 years!
Geoff & Lisa Doughty
We are a team and we work together as mates and look after each others' back and if we are in trouble we help each and others.
Justin Plummer, Narre Warren Urban Fire Brigade
No Matter where you are in the CFA, mateship has deep roots in what you do. I have been a member for about a year but have been wishing to join for years and years. My brother joined more than 2 years ago and he shares my feelings. When we are together we share our experiences and it never is a bad time together.
When out with the public the pride you experience when people see you is nothing I can ever describe. It lifts me up and allows me to do my job far more effectively knowing this. My colleagues have become friends with no trouble and I feel I have fit right in. Mateship is key to getting by in an environment that can range from rewarding and cheerful to what only can be described as an environment people should be escaping. The demand for PR events by organisations or companies is also a sign of how much we are respected within the community, again adding to the pride and source of more mateship within the CFA.
Luke Commisso, Mooroopna Fire Brigade
I chose mate ship because as a 23 year old firefighter the CFA has to be one of the biggest organizations in Australia that involve Mateship. It brings people together and there’s always someone there who will listen to you. I believe that in every fire station there is one big family and we love meeting people and helping others in need.
George Pantazis, Kangaroo Flat Fire Brigade
When all members from all different back grounds band together to protect life and property in our community and in some cases interstate and overseas, and the ability to band together as one to work with other agencies and groups to achieve a safer place to live no matter where you live or come from.
Wayne Noble, Ocean Grove Fire Brigade
As an Emergency Management Organisation the CFA is able to manage all sorts of emergencies and events. This is due to its people. CFA is made up of people who bring with them skills and qualifications from all sorts of backgrounds. You may be a Fire Fighter and an electrician at the same time. An Officer and a company executive. An Administration person who is in the army reserve. A HR, Media or other HQ person also involved in the Red Cross, St Johns or other organisation. Whether Volunteer or Staff, we all have multiple sets of skills we bring to CFA. It is because of our willingness to use the multitude of skills we bring with us, that CFA is able to be an all round well recognised Emergency Management Organisation
This is exactly how I would describe CFA staff and Volunteers who spend their time doing such fantastic work for the community
Michelle Dickson, Barwon/Corangamite Area
I have been a member of the CFA for just over 8 years now and the CFA has opened up doors for me that I would never have considered in a lifetime.
Since I took the step to join the CFA it has provided me with endless opportunities to meet new people and make some life long friends and acquaintances.
It has given me the opportunity to try something that a lot people would never get the chance to experience in a lifetime.
CFA has given me the opportunity to spread my wings and develop myself and my potential by the Challenge program along with other courses and experiences that have been offered to me and I graciously accepted.
CFA has so many vast and different avenues to explore that if I chose to visit each avenue throughout the course of my life, I know that I would have a lifelong commitment.
I have been given the opportunity to be given employment opportunities with the CFA which I cherish and value and look forward to future opportunities within the organisation.
The opportunities within the CFA are endless and there are always people who open up doors and support and believe in what you can do and encourage you to be the best person you can be.
Annie Heritage, Barwon/Corangamite Area
* CFA gives individuals the opportunity to protect and serve their community
* CFA gives people the opportunity to meet people in their community
* CFA gives people the opportunity to be trained in skills they may not otherwise have the chance to be trained in
* CFA gives people the opportunity to develop themselves in many ways
* CFA gives people the opportunity to be part of a family that offers friendship, support and growth.
Raelene Murray, Maryborough Fire Brigade
Volunteers, career staff, career fire-fighters, auxiliaries, brigades in schools presenters, committee members, family members, employers and friends all contribute to the identity of CFA.
We all have passion for the organisation and what we stand for. Whether you put out fires, fundraise, educate the community or support the people that are involved with CFA you possess a passion that ultimately includes doing your bit to protect and build ‘safer, more resilient communities’. Our Community, Our future!!! (and on occasion, in times of need, someone else’s community, home and future.)
Carlene Cameron, North East Areas
Preservation – it refers to
Preservation of life
Preservation of livelihood
Preservation of the community
Preservation of assets and
Preservation of the environment in which I live
This word came from a member of a small brigade in an isolated community and it clearly spelt out his reason for belonging to the CFA. I believe this is also demonstrated in the larger scheme of things
Alistair Drayton, Wallington Fire Brigade
To me that says it all
Not only do you have the chance to learn new skills, meet new challenges and give back to your community, you also make lifelong friends that you work beside and trust with your life.
David Hoskin, Geelong West Fire Brigade
I chose rewarding, as the service we provide to the community is rewarding to each of us in many ways.
* Rewarding when we save people's assets
* Rewarding from the gratitude we receive from the public
* Rewarding as it helps many of us in our own personal occupations
* Rewarding when I see family members joining the brigades that mum or dad has been involved in for many years.
* Rewarding when you see the junior brigades striving so hard in their own training and competitions and express a desire to move onto the senior ranks and continue the 'rewarding' service that CFA contribute to the communities of Victoria.
Stewart Kreltszheim, Region 23
I walked the Kokoda Trail last year and this is one of the words which symbolise the struggle and is highlighted at the memorial at Isurava. I think it depicts the many sacrifices CFA members make to serve their communities.
Frank Faulisi, Geelong
why? because it is the one word CFA installs to all volunteers. Remember Safety First: to yourself: to your fellow crew: to members of the public:
to your alliances.
Ken Wearmouth, Broadford CFA
Public Safety, Personal Safety, no matter which way you look at it the CFA is all about Safety! We need to be Safe to keep the public Safe, Safety First & Foremost!
Mark Roberts, Doreen CFA
Explanation: Being a CFA member provides me with personal satisfaction.
- Satisfaction that I'm providing a great Community Service;
- Satisfaction that I'm gaining new skills and competencies;
- The Satisfaction of knowing that I and my colleagues are promoting Volunteerism to the young people in our community;
- The Satisfaction of working with a great bunch of people from our community both within the Brigade and in the wider CFA;
- Satisfaction because I do it not for money but for the many non-monetary benefits.
Mrs Pauline Gardner, Glenloth East
Everytime l see a CFA member walking through fires,floods etc they all have that look of STRENGTH . You can see it in their faces, every single one of them. When they're tired and worn to the bone it's that look of STRENGTH that gives us all a feeling of hope. STRENGTH that makes the rest of us go on when we think we can't, STRENGTH that guides us in our decisions we must make during times of stress and STRENGTH to send our loved ones to help others in need. That's what l see when l see or hear the words CFA.
Sarah van der Velden, Bairnsdale Fire Brigade
CFA Support the community - whether it be suppressing fires, cleaning up MVAs, giving advice and help to the community via Community Fire Guard, or Brigade in Schools. or within the Brigade. CFA members are also great at helping out other members - to mow their lawn, baby-sitting, emotional and financial support when a member or a family are in need. In many country areas the CFA is the pillar of Support for the town and community.
In the CFA we:
* have BASOs - Brigade Administrative Support Officers,
* have CIS - Critical Incident Support
* have Support Vehicles,
* Support other brigades and Agencies,
* have the Peer Support program,
* we can get Welfare Support, Member Support, IT Support, Training Support
* have a Brigade Volunteer Support Fund,
* have a number of Industries Support brigades Financially, the Smorgen Steel program, IGA Supermarkets, RACV to name a few of the larger ones...
* Support life - not only through 'Creating a Safer Community'. suppressing fires, but through the EMR Brigades supporting life
* During an incident if you set up an Incident Management Team you will have Management Support Officers, Logistic Support Officers.
* If you are no longer able to jump on the truck and turn out to fires - you can still be a member you will become and Operational Support Member
When on Brigades Online and doing a search for the word SUPPORT 197 results showed up with the word Support included in its contents.
Of the 9 different meanings of Support in the Collins Dictionary I believe that CFA can fit into all the categories.
David Morgan, Narre Warren Fire Brigade
Definition: The interaction of two or more agents or forces so that their combined effect is greater than the sum of their individual effects.
To me, this is the way we all work in the CFA. We are all individuals, but when required, we all work together, as one, to achieve the same outcome. This could be as the crew of a lone appliance at a small incident, to being any part of the resources, management, or support, required to battle the biggest blazes.
Mark Gravell, Yarrambat Fire Brigade
Individuals in the CFA can do a lot but not everything, but as a whole the CFA Team can do anything
Craig Dennis, Belgrave Heights and South Fire Brigade
The CFA is all about working with dynamic teams: Obviously the brigade is a team, but that can be broken down to a crew responding to an incident, the Brigade Management Team, the rookies learning together etc. Moving upwards there are a range of administrative and operational roles working closely together with their sights set on common goals.
Perhaps most importantly though are the relationships that are built with local communities and industry – all working together to make our environment a safer place to be. That is teamwork!
Colin Corbett, Morwell Fire Station
In our line of work we come across many times when people have tears in their eyes. Sometimes tears of happiness and joy and unfortunately, sometimes tears of sadness and devastation.
You will see people with tears in their eyes many times. When you rescue an old family pet stuck in a tree or from under the house. When you pull up at a house fire and all of the family is at the letterbox, except for one. When a husband or wife is at home listening to the radio hears that a fire fighter has been injured and hopes that their partner was not that fire fighter. When people at Community Fireguard meeting tell you stories of how they barely survived the inferno that claimed their house, street or the entire town. When a brigade member, your mate, needs support after a fatal job. When a family affected by drought or flood receives a care package delivered by the local brigade, from products supplied by people hundreds of kilometres away. When someone has not slept properly for days because of the stress and fear of the fires bearing down on their town sees strike team after strike team roll in.
The best tears to see, the only tears that we want to see, are the ones that you see after, the ones that come from your child or partner, when they see that you are safely home again, with them.
Scott Tomlinson, Geelong West
I believe it is time is when minutes and seconds are all that stands between life and death and we as CFA can save lot of lives just by time.
Robyn Adams,Christmas Hills Rural Fire Brigade
I'm really proud of my association with CFA . I've been a member of Christmas Hills Brigade for thirty years now, and have also been associated professionally via a number of projects. Over this time I have seen CFA become a world leader - a TRAILBLAZER - in community fire safety.
CFA is many things to many people, but I am most proud of the fact that CFA had the foresight and courage to trailblaze so many programs which have gone on to be models for community safety in all the fire prone countries of the world. In spite of criticism, and the almost universal policies of evacuation in other States and overseas, CFA pushed the "Stay or Go" message, developed Community Fireguard, informed residents via Bushfire Blitz and Fire Ready, promoted household level Bushfire Plans, and developed partnerships with other organizations so that bushfire safety has become a whole community endeavour in Victoria.
The proof of these initiatives is in the stats - we still get bushfires every fire season, but the loss of life and of dwellings continues to decline.
I'm proud to be CFA volunteer. I'm proud to belong to an organization like CFA which has the capacity and commitment to learn from every fire; that is not afraid to go out and get the data they need in order to push the boundaries of best practice fire management. I think Trailblazer is one word that really summarizes CFA for me.
Lisa Hicks, Westernport Area
U = United
N = Networking
B = Brave
E = Exciting
L = Local
I = Interstate
E = Enthusiastic
V = Volunteer
A = Achievement
B = Belonging
L = Life
E = Enormous
CFA is about being united as one team yet networking with all other agencies and involving the community. The volunteers are the silent brave 24 hours a day. It’s exciting. You attend local incidents as well as having the opportunity to go interstate on strike teams. The enthusiastic volunteers feel a sense of achievement and belonging to one extremely large family, it becomes part of your life and it’s rewarding. The enormous amount of volunteers within CFA, approx 60,000 they all can’t be wrong.
Serafina Munns, Yarra Area
One of the things I have always loved about the CFA is how things are often unexpected. Sure we expect that at some time we will have a fire to deal with or that there is training on Wednesday night. But where and what will it be? How wonderful it is to suddenly find yourself driving through rolling hills at dusk with the stars coming out and the kangaroos grazing. Or visiting a beautiful local property that you didn't know existed. Unexpectedly meeting and getting to know great people. Learning new skills that you never thought you would. Travelling to new and unexpected parts of the state or interstate, places you would never nor could ever normally visit. Becoming friends with people from all walks of life. Finding your life going in an unexpected direction because of your involvement with CFA.
One thing I always expect to experience with the CFA is the unexpected, and it is so exciting.
United as a Brigade, United as volunteer and career fire service, United volunteer associations, United with other emergency services, United with the community. In the face of peril we must ALL STAND UNITED.
Dean Johnston, Wattle Glen
I believe that volunteering with CFA is a unique and beneficial experience.
We work together as many people from different and diverse backgrounds; often as mixed strike team crews or as firefighters together at a large incident.
We work alongside people we've never met and on appliances of unknown origin (try taking out the map to look up a few place names, after a campaign fire).
We do not think about the job we do and the sacrifices we make; yet others sometimes remind us of our importance in the community. We sacrifice our time, resources and sometimes our lives often for the benefit of people we do not know or will never meet.
I'm proud to be part of such an organisation held in high regard within our community and the friendships formed are a real bonus. Everyone wearing a pair of 'yellows' is my mate.
Chris Latcham, Melbourne
I view the CFA from a limited perspective in the headquarters, learning of the history and development of the organisation from a place many shun. I don’t have volunteer experience and I’m still a relative new-comer compared with the average.
I find CFA a remarkable place to work, with so many layers interwoven. The potential for splitting of fracture lines between the many interests - HQ, area, region, brigade, group, office, field, staff, volunteer, union, operations, admin, personalities, etc - is overcome by a shared passion to be part of a ‘good’ organisation and do something great.
So, how to reflect the fundamental co-existence of the “do-it-yourself” attitude of founding volunteers, looking after their families and communities, alongside the essential corporate governance and performance standards demanded in today’s society? Bound together by shared experiences in the most difficult circumstances, but pushed apart by the differences of expectation that occur naturally across such wide geographic, demographic, historical and operational backgrounds.
I wanted a word that would have at least two interpretations to paint my picture of CFA. I settled on VITAL.
“Vital” has a number of related meanings including:
* Necessary or essential to life; being a source or support of life
* Living; imparting life; invigorating, full of life and vigour; energetic; animated
* Necessary to continued effectiveness; essential; highly important; indispensable
“Vital” reflects both the essential role for CFA in the Victorian community, and the nature of the organisation’s membership being full of life, innovation, invention and debate.
To its volunteers, members, partners and customers, CFA is a vital (living, full of life) organisation. To the Victorian society, communities and government, CFA is a vital (indispensable) organisation. When CFA turns out to deal with the fire, attend a vehicle accident, help prepare for bushfire or teach about prevention, these services are vital (essential to life) to the recipients.
And to me, vital reflects the life force that keeps the fracture lines from splitting, that kindles the passion and drives people to do great things. It’s my word for CFA.
Cliff Overton, Region 12
Why ‘Vitality’ you ask?
CFA is a vital organisation made up of vital people performing vital roles.
It is the energy, enthusiasm, dedication, commitment, and perseverance of us all that make CFA a strong resilient community of people full of…
Dianne Dean, Everton Brigade
It's an often used word in Australia and, because of that, sometimes not given the regard it is due. What is so amazing is not just that these men and women spend so much time training and preparing, not just that they protect and save lives and property, not that just they risk injury and death ....
... but that they volunteer to do it.
It's a reflect of the Australian spirit, new and old, that people do volunteer.
And it's that spirit that cannot be underestimated or undervalued.
Pete Luckock, Melbourne
Thousands upon thousands of Victorians give up time, sleep and money to train, attend meetings, go on strike teams, and drop everything when the alarm goes off - it must be worthwhile...