While there were too many to get through, Acting Chief Officer Steve Warrington will respond to the remaining questions at the start of the next Q&A on Wednesday 13 June.
Mick responded to 14 questions and thanked everyone for their feedback.
“Thank you all for your contributions and as always I will be sharing them back with my fellow executives. They will add a lot of value to the current discussions we are having about how to ensure that our model of integrated service delivery through community based brigades can grow to meet the future community needs.”
Unanswered questions to be addressed in the next Q&A session:
“Up-to-date information materials ready for distribution in sufficient quantities at Brigade/District level in pre-season (early October) already, not coming in in drips and drabs during the fire season or in the worst case scenario, as it happened in the past, “Brigade Information Kit” available towards the end of the (bush)fire season only.” - Peter Anliker
“1. I would anticipate that some of the biggest challenges to brigades in the delivery of community safety will be the capacity of the brigade (i.e. their ability/skills to facilitate complex community meetings, lack of training, time, etc).
Given the range of demands on volunteers is there any thinking around a model of mentoring or partnership between staff and volunteers to support them in their work with community?
2. How will this model of service delivery engage with the diversity of our communities given the limited diversity that exists within many of our brigades.” - Sharon Rawlings
“CFA is a modern business about education, prevention, community messaging, building resilience in the community, response, recovery, preparedness, all hazards, training, OH&S and so on.
Volunteerism is declining, retention rate is dropping, training/admininstration/community engagement requirements are increasing. And somewhere in all of this brigades still respond to incidents and emergencies.
It is harder to deliver increasing services to the community:
- simply because the demands on a brigade are bigger than they have ever been before and are possibly undervalued
- community education is not valued as much as response activity by many, or viewed as doomed to failure as community attitudes regress to complacency
- the focus on fire prevention has been lost by the organisation and brigades which is primary responsibility of CFA
CFA asks, brigades deliver, you ask a bit more and we deliver a bit more - the only problem is you keep asking a bit more in every aspect of brigade life NOT just community education - I suspect many are at the tipping point.
Will CFA be prepared to ask brigades (and accept) their feedback about the hours put into brigade life and use this information to reassess service delivery by the organisation to ensure long term sustainability?” - Fiona Burns, Hillcrest Fire Brigade
“The Chief Officer has previously said public apathy towards fire is one of our biggest risks. How do you think we can address this and is it the biggest obstacle for our community safety programs?” - Craig Rowston
“Mick, with the seemingly increased attitude towards volunteers delivering programs have the following been considered;
- Majority of Rural Brigades have little or no capacity to deliver programs, people are becoming more and more “time poor” due to an ever changing society and environment.
- Volunteer capacity for these locations is very “thin on the ground” or does not exist at all, and;
- A funding model that also incorporates that lack of capacity to deliver in more rural based Regions?
Please don’t get me wrong, we have some fantastic volunteers out there with a positive attitude and great capacity and hopefully the cultural change within the organisation will recognise this even more.
Also, if we do get a good solid volunteer base to deliver some programs, has there been much thought put into the training, updating and skills maintenance to ensure those members are kept up to date weekly with messaging and changes to ensure that the message we are getting out there is the right message? How do we manage that?” - Paul Verbeek
“1. My shed is just that, we are one of the 52 high fire districts it’s hard to engage with your community with nothing more than a garage, is the Fire Station program to upgrade small sheds available so as the brigade can see where it is in the pecking order, hare to have a community meeting when we have no amenities....small steps to get results
2. Fire service delivery this is always interesting when we have false alarms included as fire calls...we need to have some education as to what is a fire and what is a false alarm has been a bug bear of mine for some time we need to educate our officers as to what is what
3. When we have multi station turnouts sometimes the numbers of trucks don’t show the numbers of firefighters this would be an interesting as we only have limited numbers and this is not reflected in the figures ...interesting..?????” - Kevin
The next session will be at 6pm on Wednesday 13 June with Acting Chief Officer Steve Warrington. CFA members are encouraged to email topic suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.