The State Wellbeing Advisory Committee is working on a wellbeing strategy that spans 4 years. Significant consultation has been undertaken on this to date. One of the key pieces of the strategy is the change in language from welfare to wellbeing. Although people often believe welfare and wellbeing are interchangeable words, in the context of CFA and what the words actually mean, they are very different. SWAC member Alan Davies, discusses this in more detail
Why do we need to change from welfare to wellbeing?
Welfare for most people generates a reactive type of thinking e.g. something that is provided to people after something happens. CFA provides this response type support very well particularly the Welfare Services network of Peer, Chaplains and Psychologists. There is a lot we can do to prepare people psychologically to deal with challenges in CFA. Wellbeing in the CFA context is about preventative initiatives that are done ahead of time to help people manage when challenges do arise. Wellbeing is also about the development of people. It is interlinked with other aspects of CFA. Members join the CFA to serve community and play a definitive role in protecting life and property. This is part of each members Personal Development Plan:, to be trained and inducted appropriately into CFA. This process embraces the aspects of wellbeing. Wellbeing is about developing a culture of preparing people for the unique environment of fire and emergencies.
What part are you playing in the development of the wellbeing strategy?
I am providing a regional perspective and a leadership role in the strategy by representing regional directors’ from across the state in context of service delivery components of fire & emergency management.
What is the benefit of having a wellbeing strategy?
CFA is a people based organisation delivering fire and emergency response therefore the development of our people foremost priority.
How does a wellbeing strategy help CFA members protect life and property?
With the implementation of the wellbeing strategy, people will be better equipped psychologically and developmentally to manage appropriately in stressful work environments. Preparation assists individuals to develop and respond better to ways of coping with the stresses of the environment. We need to embrace wellbeing aspects across the entire organisation as a fundamental plank of developing our people.