News & Media

News posts from Euan Ferguson

Chief Officer’s Intent 2015-16 summer season

On 4 November I issued the CFA Chief Officer’s intent for the 2015-16 summer season, which should be read with the intent established by the Emergency Management Commissioner, the State Control Team, other agency Chiefs and the Victorian Bushfire Handbook Edition 5.  Through the application of the State Control Priorities, the intent for 2015-16 is to minimise the impacts of emergencies and enable affected communities to focus on their recovery as early as practicable. In doing this, we reinforce the need to: Take care of yourselves and take care of each other. Our workplace has inherent risks that may change without warning. We must continually balance risk versus reward, considering the likelihood of success against the consequences of failure. We use “LACES” (The acronym for Lookouts, Awareness, Communication, Escape Routes and Safety Zones) and the Dynamic Risk Assessment process to guide our actions, risk controls and decision making. The key summer risks to firefighters (and their primary controls) include:               o Burnover – (LACES, the 18 “Watchout” Situations)               o Hazardous trees and tree hazards: identify, assess and mark “Clear and Present Danger” trees               o Vehicle accidents: drive defensively to the conditions               o Fatigue: ensure proper sleep/rest breaks are taken               o Slips, trips and falls: Don’t be distracted and watch where you’re stepping               o Dehydration: people are fed, watered and fit for the task they perform. Protect life and property with determination               o Priority is given to issuing public information and warnings                o Hit new fires hard and fast               o Our firefighting will be purposeful, determined and thorough               o Strike Teams - Strike Teams are formed to work with the advantage of concentration of effort, organisation and capacity.  Demonstrate active leadership in our communities               o Community engagement focuses on risk               o We work with communities and individuals to protect what is important to them               o Enable affected communities to recover.  We work as one               o With other agencies                o With community and other leaders. Be Ready               o VUCA: The world we live in is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. When an emergency occurs, it sometimes results in chaos.               o Exercise foresight                o Think and act with humility.  The complete document can be accessed on Brigades Online here.

1.54 PM 6 November, 2015

Planned burns and the Fire Safety Pledge

CFA planned burns and burn-off ignition approval procedure On 11 October 2015 I issued an interim advice to ensure heightened caution and appropriate authorisation regarding all burns planned, authorised, conducted and led by CFA. Planned burning is a very important bushfire risk mitigation tool that has been and will continue to be used by CFA and DELWP. Following this interim advice, I now reinforce the following procedures in relation to CFA conducted planned burns: All proposed planned burns must be assessed using the Planned Burning Complexity Rating Guide and subsequently approved by the Operations Manager or delegate, in accordance with SOP 9.39. Once approval of the Burn Plan has been given, there will be two distinct Ignition authorisation procedures depending on the fuel type and burn duration. 1. Small roadside burns, simple grassland burns, stubble burns, pile burns-offs, burns not involving long duration fuels may be authorised by the RDO or delegate. These burns are considered lower risk due to the short burn residence time. 2. Forest and scrub burns with heavy fuel loads MUST be approved by the Assistant Chief Officer via the Operations Manager or Rostered Duty Officer (RDO). These burns are considered higher risk because of the presence of bark fuels and tree cover, and long duration burn times. The Assistant Chief Officer or RDO in considering the burn ignition approval MUST review the Burn Plan and consider the following before making a determination: • All pre-burn works identified in the Burn Plan have been completed. • Traffic Management arrangements are in place and notifications have been completed. • Weather conditions pre and a minimum of four (4) days post burn are well within prescription. • Fuel moisture content will be within prescriptions. • Perimeter control lines sufficient to contain expected fire behaviour. • An adequate contingency plan for burn escape has been put in place. • Existing demand on CFA resources from other incidents or burns. • Adequate post burn patrol can be maintained for as long as required (including thermal imaging camera checking where available). • Patrol resources are independent of the burn operation. • Water points are within reasonable travel time from the burn. • The fuel hazard adjacent to burn (load, moisture content and arrangement). • Risk mitigation for assets within 500 metres of the burn. If in considering all information, further guidance is required, the ACO should contact Deputy Chief Officer Alen Slijepcevic and/or the State Agency Commander. This procedure remains in place until otherwise advised. The content of this procedure will be captured in SOP 9.39 currently out for consultation. Fire Safety Pledge CFA is encouraging all Victorians to take the Fire Safety Pledge before 3 December at http://thefiresafetypledge.com.au/. When taking the pledge, members of the public can select the specific fire safety actions they will take in order to reduce their risk and better prepare for the threat of fire. Those taking the pledge can also select a local CFA brigade to support allowing for a brigade competition across three different categories. You can check out the Brigade Leader Boards at http://www.thefiresafetypledge.com.au/results.

11.23 AM 5 November, 2015

Planned burns, vegetation clearing and crewing increases

Planned burns On Tuesday 6 October 2015, we witnessed around 150 grass and scrub fires across much of Victoria. Many of these were escapes from private property burnoffs. You will also be aware that much of Victoria is suffering from three years of below-average rainfall. This, coupled with recent dry, warm and windy conditions, has resulted in an extremely rapid drying cycle in forest and grasslands. It is of utmost importance that heightened caution must be considered in any and all planned burns authorised, conducted and led by CFA.  Until further notice, and as an interim measure, all CFA planned burns in forest or scrub fuels must be referred to the relevant Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) for approval. The ACO will discuss the potential risks, consequences and perceptions of the proposed burn with the State Agency Commander and/or the Chief Officer. This applies to all burns in forest, scrub or heavy fuels that have been planned and are the responsibility of CFA. Planned burning is a bushfire risk mitigation that has been and will continue to be utilised successfully to make our communities safer. I note the announcement on 8 October of an investigation into the DELWP-initiated planned burn near Lancefield that escaped containment lines. CFA welcomes the investigation, because it's imperative that the outcomes and lessons are shared among all agencies. I also unreservedly thank all CFA and DELWP personnel that worked hard to contain the fires and/or support operations. District Operations Managers in many parts of the state have projected an earlier-than-normal introduction to the Fire Danger Period. Subsequently, the declaration of the Fire Danger Period will commence for Hindmarsh, Yarriambiack, Horsham, Gannawarra, Mildura, Buloke and Swan Hill Councils from 19 October. Operations Managers and Rostered Duty Officers will be alert to discussing and providing information with respect to the potential declaration of Total Fire Bans should weather and fire risk conditions dictate. This includes outside the Fire Danger Period. CFA and our agency partners continue to examine resourcing options and confirm that preparedness arrangements are both in place and sustainable.  Vegetation clearing I draw your attention to a new online tool that makes it easier for people to check whether they can clear vegetation including trees from around their property without a permit. The online tool explains the planning exemptions – known as the ‘10/30’ and ‘10/50’ rules, introduced in 2011 to reduce red tape for residents wanting to clear up ahead of the fire season. The message is supported by a two-minute video 'Clear up or clear out' released on CFA’s Facebook page yesterday. The online tool is accessible here. I encourage you to share these links and information more widely.  Increase in crewing – South Morang and Warrnambool From 0800hrs Sunday 1 November 2015, under the 10/14 roster arrangement, South Morang Fire Station will transition to the minimum staffing profile of: • 1 x Station Officer • 1 x Leading Firefighter • 2 x Firefighters The commencement of career staff and subsequent transition to 10/14 operations is an important milestone which has only come about following extensive planning and preparatory work from many. I’m also pleased to announce, following the required consultation, on Friday 16 October the following additional positions at Warrnambool Fire Station will be advertised to support the crewing of the aerial appliance. • 4x Station Officer • 1x Station Officer Reliever • 4x Leading Firefighter • 1x Leading Firefighter Reliever • 4x Firefighter • 1x Firefighter Reliever

12.42 PM 15 October, 2015

Class B foam and our Service Delivery Strategy

Extension of Class B foam training suspension CFA is extending the suspension of Class B foam firefighting training at regional training campuses to all Class B foam firefighting training

9.14 PM 10 September, 2015

El Niño strengthens, CFA Open Day and the Road Rescue Challenge

El Niño Pattern Continues to Strengthen The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) have released their latest Climate Outlook for the period August to October 2015 including rainfall and temperature maps.

11.56 AM 6 August, 2015

Canada deployment, spill tests, Ballarat power outages and remand centre debrief

The last few weeks have been a reminder of the year-round, 24x7 nature of our craft. There has been a constant level of activity with CFA brigades turning out to numerous house fires, motor vehicle accidents and rescues. In addition, a number of events have been coordinated at a state level. Canada deployment Over the last 10 days, we (with our Victorian and Australian fire partners) have managed the deployment of nine CFA members to be part of the 104-strong Australian firefighter deployment to Canada. Four of these nine are volunteers. My thanks to OM Peter Baker and Coordinator Luke Heagarty and our SCC support team for their hard work in making this all come together in a very quick time frame. For those who are interested, the exploits of the Canadian deployment can be found on CFA News & Media. Mercury spill CFA has also worked with the UFU and VFBV in responding to the consequences of a mercury spill and possible exposure of firefighters at Traralgon five weeks ago. I want to congratulate the team in the Latrobe Valley, particularly ACO Trevor Owen, RC Bryan Russell and the members of the IMT established to proactively manage the incident and engage with HSR and UFU at an early stage. This incident is still being worked through. Reassuringly, all the testing of potentially contaminated gear has shown no cause for concern. CFA will be offering ongoing medical checks for volunteers and career staff who may have been exposed to mercury during this incident. Ballarat planning CFA has also been involved in preparing for a possible significant (and medium term) power outage at Ballarat. Acting OM Gavin Hope has been managing the planning – especially for the Ballarat Base Hospital – if this power outage should occur. The outage has the potential to affect our own facilities as well as protected premises alarms. The latest advice is that it may be another week or more until the situation returns to normal. Remand Centre debrief Finally, CFA has debriefed from the recent Metropolitan Remand Centre riot at the Ravenhall correctional facility. The response to this incident included CFA, MFB, VicPol and Corrections. Since that event, CFA has been party to escalated readiness planning in relation to correctional facilities across the state. Thank you to those who have had to participate in the many meetings and teleconferences to get plans in place.  When the riot occurred on Tuesday 30 June OOs John Anderson and Steve Pitcher immediately responded to the prison into a very uncertain and complex environment. The value of the pre-plans and the developed relationships between John, Steve and the responders from VicPol, Corrections and MFB was evident. Along with DCO Steve Warrington, who attended to ensure the line of command and control was established, resulted in a very professional, seamless and orderly response to a challenging situation. In closing, I reinforce our gratitude and thanks to the CFA team. Rarely does a day go by when CFA people, in one shape or form, aren’t in (or making) the news. You do incredibly important work. The community is better and safer because of your efforts, be it talking to schools, planning fire protection, engaging with industry or responding and dealing with community consequences. Thank you. Keep up the outstanding work! “We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world – Be Ready for the Unexpected!”

11.47 AM 30 July, 2015

Tree marking aerosol recalled

Recall of tree marking aerosol Recent safety advice has prompted DELWP and CFA to immediately recall DY-MARK Mine Marking aerosol paint used to mark hazardous trees on the fireground and during planned burning operations.  This recall is being undertaken as a safety precaution following a risk assessment on the contents of this aerosol paint.      It has been determined DY-MARK Mine Marking Aerosol contains methylene chloride which has been listed in Safe Work Australia’s Hazardous Substance Information System as having ‘carcinogenic potential’. DY-Mark aerosols are included in Hazardous Tree Marking Kits which are standard in most firefighting appliances, particularly those in regional areas. To ensure we maintain the health and safety of our members, the use of this product must cease immediately and all cans recalled. It is to be removed from all CFA vehicles and stored away from any access areas. Each brigade should return these cans of paint to their district headquarters where they will be transferred to be destroyed in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. In general, the use of the paint would be very uncommon within CFA. It is used to mark hazardous trees in open, ventilated areas and CFA members would also be wearing PPC and therefore be protected from exposure to the spray. A safe alternative is being investigated as a replacement. While this product is commercially available and widely used across various industries, as a further precaution medical advice was obtained which has indicated: that there is minimal risk from the correct use of this product agencies use this product to mark a tree in the open air where maximum ventilation is present allowing dispersal of any fumes or vapours its use involves very short spray bursts to mark the tree. Further, we will keep brigades informed of this safety recall and share any additional information as it comes to hand.

12.19 PM 8 July, 2015

Fire Risk Register Online and smartphone apps,

Victorian Fire Risk Register Online The first login for VFRR-B Online was issued at the Central Goldfields Municipal Fire Management Planning Committee (MFMPC) meeting in mid-April and a further 14 logins have been issued since.  VFRR-B Online is a mapping platform developed to support a number of enhancement opportunities identified in an external evaluation of the VFRR-B in 2012. The platform provides users with a secure website to view and edit VFRR-B data as well as allowing changes to be submitted electronically. Users are also able to generate custom maps, tables and reports using the most current VFRR-B data. VFRR-B Online and its functions are intended for use by MFMPCs, Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committees (MEMPCs) and agency representatives engaged with input to the VFRR-B. Access is managed by CFA’s Risk Intelligence team to ensure a level of security and consistency of users with adequate knowledge of risk to edit the data. Although access is currently restricted to users involved in the VFRR-B process, there is an opportunity to issue logins for CFA brigades in the future. VFRR-B Online training will be delivered, and logins issued, to users as part of the annual VFRR-B review for their LGA or agency. For more information on VFRR-B Online, the risk assessment or review process please contact the Risk Intelligence team. If you are not a member of a MFMPC or MEMPC and would like access to VFRR-B please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // Smartphone apps CFA and other Victorian emergency services including VICSES and Ambulance Victoria are notified and dispatched to emergencies and incidents using the Emergency Alerting System (EAS). The system is a dedicated network for these emergency services that has been rigorously tested and has proven to be a reliable and efficient method for alerting emergency services. The Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA), which manages EAS on behalf of the emergency services, also has contingency systems and processes in place should the network experience failures or issues. ESTA and the emergency services and management agencies do not endorse alternative systems outside of EAS because they cannot guarantee their reliability. Outside of dispatching, emergency services do recognise that smartphone apps have features and capabilities that appeal to personnel. Ways to enhance current systems and technology will be looked into as part of the development of the Long Term Communications Plan for the emergency services sector. If CFA or any of the emergency services were to consider a new system or way of operating, this would be subject to a competitive and exhaustive tender process as per government procurement standards. Where members or brigades choose to use smartphone-based turnout systems, these should be seen as secondary systems, recognising that they may not always meet emergency service standards. “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, become more, you are a leader.”    John Quincy Adams

12.16 PM 11 June, 2015

Community engagement, road safety, emergency management fundamentals, planned burns

Community Engagement State Forum The fifth annual CFA Community Engagement State Forum will be held in Creswick on 1 and 2 August 1 and registrations of interest are now open. Led by the Member Engagement Volunteer Reference Group, this year's theme is ‘Community Connections – Let’s Join Forces’. For the first time, this year’s event will see CFA team up with SES and bring together members of both agencies who are preparing and educating their communities around fire, flood or storm. This year’s event is timely for CFA to support brigade members undertaking a community safety role within their brigade. The Community Safety function is being formalised on Brigade Management Teams (BMTs) as per the changes to Brigade and Membership Classification. As an attendee of this event on several previous occasions, I encourage those who are interested in taking on this type of role at the brigade level to register their interest. Register your interest to attend here or contact the Member Engagement Team on (03) 9262 8851 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // . Registrations of interest close 7 June 2015. Toward Zero - a new road safety strategy for Victoria CFA has been invited to contribute to the development of a new Road Safety Strategy for Victoria through participation in one of six public consultation sessions that will be held from 2 to 17 June 2015 across Victoria. Road safety is a shared responsibility for all Victorians. A new Road Safety Strategy will aim to engage the whole community in working together towards a future where there are no deaths and serious injuries on our roads. For more information about the forums and to register your attendance, please visit www.towardszero.vic.gov.au. The Fundamentals of Emergency Management The emergency management sector is working together to develop common principles underpinning emergency management activities. This first publication, the Fundamentals of Emergency Management (Class 1 Emergencies) outlines the principles underpinning the emergency management activities of CFA, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP), MFB, SES, and Emergency Management Victoria (EMV). There are six layers of operational doctrine that are common to the agencies, which sit within a hierarchy. These include Authorising Environment; Capstone layer; Fundamental layer, Procedural layer, Technical layer and Training layer. This document outlines the fundamental layer. While it specifically references the responder agencies and EMV in support, the document provides overarching guiding principles on the management of emergencies that may be applied to a variety of emergencies. Eight principles for managing emergencies are proposed: 1. Primacy of life 2. Community centric 3. Unified 4. Progressive 5. Risk driven 6. Integrated and collaborative 7. Flexible 8. Communicating information. Read the document here. Review of performance targets for fuel management on public land by the IGEM As part of the Victorian Government's commitment to keeping the state safe, the Inspector-General of Emergency Management (IGEM) was asked to review performance targets for the bushfire fuel management program on public land. IGEM invited public submissions into the current approaches to fuel management for bushfire protection in Victoria and suggested future performance targets. The report makes recommendations which include a shift away from a hectare-based fuel reduction target. It recommends a move toward a risk-reduction approach where the most at-risk areas are prioritised for fuel reduction. A copy of the report is available here. CFA supports a risk-based approach to planned burning. CFA Planned Burning Project The CFA Planned Burning Project is funded for three years until mid-2017. The project is running in parallel to the Vegetation Management Program and focused on two of DELWP’s priority Risk Landscapes, specifically the Barwon Otway and East Central areas. Two Planned Burning Resource Coordinators have supported the program. The coordinators have worked closely with the Vegetation Management Team to develop an improved resource tracking system for planned burning. These roles will be expanded from September 2015. Consultation is continuing to maximise the benefit of the two Risk Landscape Coordinators who can assist in running phoenix modeled fire spreads to measure the value of planned burning in terms of risk reduction to public and private land. This work will assist in better targeting limited resources to burns that achieve the greatest good. Resources including weather and fuel meters, and trailers to assist with burn camps and transportation of bulk burn mix have been jointly purchased with the Vegetation Management Program. These will be available for use to CFA in the new financial year. CFA has also mapped system requirements to jointly manage burn planning and notifications through the new Fuel Management System hosted by DELWP, which will better integrate CFA burning activities with existing well-established systems. “When looking to developing such competence, ….[a great leader in fire] … “personal genuineness and integrity, mindfulness and self compassion are critical vehicles to consider.”  A.L. Waldron & V.Ebbeck (Int Journal Wildland Fire 24 (2))

12.12 PM 1 June, 2015

Walking Off the War Within, recognition and respect

Firefighter Nathan Shanahan – “Walking Off the War Within” Here is an inspirational story of a journey by one of our career firefighters, Nathan Shanahan, a returned serviceman, who has demonstrated why we are an organisation of great people. SSO Malcolm Hayes of Mildura Brigade writes as follows:  “You are all aware Nathan set out on 16 April to walk from Mildura to Adelaide carrying a full army pack (25kg). The intention of this walk was to raise funds for ‘Soldier On’ and also lift the stigma for mental health issues. Nathan is a returned serviceman and currently works at Mildura as a firefighter. He has suffered the effects of depression and anxiety for some time and this walk was part of his own personal healing process. Nathan chose to share this personal information and in doing so helped so many others start their own healing process”.  I ask you:  “How brave is that?” Nathan has recognised his own challenges, and in meeting them head on has created an awareness of many others who are doing it tough after serving our nation. Mal Hayes further writes that, “As an organisation, I do not think you could find a better role model for a CFA firefighter than Nathan. Over the period of his walk he was featured on social media, print media, visual media and radio. Most of the journalists introduced Nathan as CFA firefighter Nathan Shanahan, going on to endorse what he was doing in the most positive ways”.  Mal tells us that, “Nathan was asked to speak to a group of Truro CFS volunteers at their training night. I took a seat in the back of the room and watched with interest at how he would go speaking to a group of strangers about such a personal issue. What I witnessed was a person that spoke from real-life experience in the most compassionate way. The room was dead silent for the duration of his presentation. If the question and answer time was what you draw your feedback from, Nathan should have been doing public speaking years ago.”  Nathan, a fantastic effort. We are all proud of your achievements. Well done! Remembrance, recognition and respect: Over the past three weeks, there have been a number of important activities that I have attended with senior CFA people. On Friday 1 May, CFA Deputy Chair John Peberty, CEO Michael Wootten and I attended the inaugural National Memorial Service for Fallen Fire and Emergency Service Personnel in Canberra. The service was held at the (little recognised) fire and emergency services memorial on the shores of Lake Burley Griffin. At the ceremony, CFA was also represented by VFBV President Hans Van Hammond and Lt Tracey McVea and Lt Gerard Peeters who drove the Wodonga tanker, which was part of an emergency services vehicle display.  The following weekend, CFA held our annual memorial service at St Patrick’s Cathedral. At this service, as is the custom, I read the name of every one of our 67 fallen firefighters. As each name is read, a bell is tolled. This memorial service is one of the most significant features on the CFA calendar. It is a time of peace, reflection and support for those who are no longer with us, their families and their fire brigade colleagues. Last week was National Volunteer Week and there were a number of functions around the state. It is a reminder that of all the things CFA does, one of the most valuable is fostering a culture of volunteering in our community. Selfless service, camaraderie and courage are all part of the spirit of volunteering. We are unique in the volunteering culture in Australia. It is a precious asset.  Finally, we look forward to the start of the Koori Inclusion Action Plan. CFA has a number of activities planned for the launch of this plan. I want to encourage all of you to listen to the actions that we have committed to with this plan. It is another indication that we are purposely promoting a culture that values inclusion, equality and diversity. As part of the plan launch, I had the opportunity to renew my friendship with Koori elder Uncle Henry. The aboriginal culture is deep and has many lessons for us all.

12.08 PM 19 May, 2015

Fire service delivery models, an inclusive CFA, F&EM restructure

CFA fire service delivery models It is timely to reinforce that in CFA we have two models for delivering fire and emergency services to the community. The first is a fully volunteer brigade model where volunteers deliver services supported by district staff (principally BASOs - brigade administrative support officers, community education staff and operations officers). The other model used by CFA is the integrated brigade model where volunteers are integrated with operational staff who are allocated to a brigade to assist with workload (including fire and emergency service delivery). The integrated model is unique to CFA. Volunteers and career staff work together in an integrated brigade and rank structure. It is a model that has proven to be very effective not just for everyday service delivery, but also in creating a surge capacity for strike team response to major incidents, community safety and education activities.  I am aware that in a number of locations, CFA brigades are facilitating discussions with regard to maintaining and sustaining volunteerism and improving the support to volunteers in integrated brigades. It is timely to note that any change in the service delivery models used by CFA would first need the approval of the CFA Board. The integrated model works well. From time to time it is appropriate that brigade members discuss openly how their particular brigade is performing and if volunteers need any further support. These discussions need to be within the context of our current volunteer and integrated models. An inclusive and diverse CFA Eva So wrote to me about a recent Women in Emergency Services Leadership Summit, where CFA was well represented. Case studies were presented about individual and organisation initiatives that helped women progress into leadership positions in the industry. The final day focused on techniques and strategies to develop effective leadership skills and maximise career potential. The 13 CFA delegates had four senior CFA leader champions in Margareth Thomas, Louise Salter, Kate Harrap and John Haynes. Former CFA Project 2016 Manager Deb Parkin also attended. The CFA delegates were very appreciative of the senior leaders who attended and were happy to finally put a face to a name and discuss challenges and potential strategies. These events are a good opportunity to reinforce CFA’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse culture. CFA promotes a culture where everyone is equal and everyone is welcome. F&EM restructure A Fire and Emergency Management Transition Management Team has recently been formed to manage, support and guide the transition of F&EM to the new structure and service delivery model. The team comprises: Ross Barker – F&EM Transition Manager – manage the overall F&EM transition Mario Marii – F&EM Business Partner – supporting the Transition Manager John Ruyg – Manager, HR Shared Services – supporting the Transition Manager Natasha Johnstone – Career Transition and Recruitment Adviser – one-to-one support for individuals Michelle O’Sullivan – Exec Manager Organisational Development – whole of CFA oversight. The initial focus will be on the regions and districts and organising resources closest to the point of service delivery. Regional transition support arrangements are currently being identified and when in place will provide a key connection and conduit for information sharing and feedback at the regional/district level. The transition team has been carefully chosen based on their skills and expertise in this area and are committed to providing expert advice and assistance. The transition will be coordinated in consultation with the ACOs and other senior managers. Questions relating to the transition process and its impacts should, in the first instance, be directed to Ross Barker F&EM Transition Manager on 0411 258 433 or email

10.15 AM 6 May, 2015

Service delivery models, an inclusive and diverse CFA, F&EM restructure

CFA fire service delivery models It is timely to reinforce that in CFA we have two models for delivering fire and emergency services to the community. The first is a fully volunteer brigade model where volunteers deliver services supported by district staff (principally BASOs - brigade administrative support officers, community education staff and operations officers). The other model used by CFA is the integrated brigade model where volunteers are integrated with operational staff who are allocated to a brigade to assist with workload (including fire and emergency service delivery). The integrated model is unique to CFA. Volunteers and career staff work together in an integrated brigade and rank structure. It is a model that has proven to be very effective not just for everyday service delivery, but also in creating a surge capacity for strike team response to major incidents, community safety and education activities.  I am aware that in a number of locations, CFA brigades are facilitating discussions with regard to maintaining and sustaining volunteerism and improving the support to volunteers in integrated brigades. It is timely to note that any change in the service delivery models used by CFA would first need the approval of the CFA Board. The integrated model works well. From time to time it is appropriate that brigade members discuss openly how their particular brigade is performing and if volunteers need any further support. These discussions need to be within the context of our current volunteer and integrated models. An Inclusive and diverse CFA Eva So wrote to me about a recent Women in Emergency Services Leadership Summit, where CFA was well represented. Case studies were presented about individual and organisation initiatives that helped women progress into leadership positions in the industry. The final day focused on techniques and strategies to develop effective leadership skills and maximise career potential. The 13 CFA delegates had four senior CFA leader champions in Margareth Thomas, Louise Salter, Kate Harrap and John Haynes. Former CFA Project 2016 Manager Deb Parkin also attended. The CFA delegates were very appreciative of the senior leaders who attended and were happy to finally put a face to a name and discuss challenges and potential strategies. These events are a good opportunity to reinforce CFA’s commitment to an inclusive and diverse culture. CFA promotes a culture where everyone is equal and everyone is welcome. F&EM restructure A Fire and Emergency Management Transition Management Team has recently been formed to manage, support and guide the transition of F&EM to the new structure and service delivery model. The team comprises: • Ross Barker – F&EM Transition Manager – manage the overall F&EM transition • Mario Marii – F&EM Business Partner – supporting the Transition Manager • John Ruyg – Manager, HR Shared Services – supporting the Transition Manager • Natasha Johnstone – Career Transition and Recruitment Adviser – one-to-one support for individuals • Michelle O’Sullivan – Exec Manager Organisational Development – whole of CFA oversight. The initial focus will be on the regions and districts and organising resources closest to the point of service delivery. Regional transition support arrangements are currently being identified and when in place will provide a key connection and conduit for information sharing and feedback at the regional/district level. The transition team has been carefully chosen based on their skills and expertise in this area and are committed to providing expert advice and assistance. The transition will be coordinated in consultation with the ACOs and other senior managers. Questions relating to the transition process and its impacts should, in the first instance, be directed to Ross Barker F&EM Transition Manager on 0411 258 433 or emailThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. // . "Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny" Mahatma Gandhi

12.04 PM 5 May, 2015

State Rostering Application, Service Delivery Strategy, VESEP

State Rostering Application It is timely to provide an update on Kronos, CFA’s State Rostering Application (SRA). All stations in District 8 and District 13 have fully transitioned to the SRA. Variation Voucher (VV) books have now ceased at stations in these districts and all entitlements are now paid via the SRA. A review of the SRA was undertaken in mid-February with District 8. This was an opportunity for members to advise the team what is working well and what improvements can be made to the systems and processes to best suit the needs of our people. Stations in District 14 have gone live with the SRA and the team expects the transition will be fully completed by the end of April. CFA understands it takes time for members to learn a new system and transition from a manual-based system to an online system. Support is provided during the transition period through on-station training sessions, online tools, job aids, phone and remote support. Additionally, an informal support network is evolving amongst the groups using the system. The SRA training for the remainder of the state is scheduled to be completed by the end of June. The system is helping to reduce paperwork, speed up payment processing and is making it easier for senior station staff to manage their stations. I encourage members using the system to provide their feedback and any suggested changes. This input will go through a formal review and approval process – the objective being to have a user friendly, intuitive application. Service Delivery Strategy The CFA Service Delivery Strategy 2015-2020 is a stepping stone to our long-term outcomes. It will drive CFA to make changes to support local people to solve local problems. It keeps the focus on public safety at CFA’s core. This strategy is focused on the services that CFA delivers externally with our community, informing our future service planning and capability requirements across the whole organisation. Support services that enable frontline service delivery are addressed in the supporting four strategies; Volunteerism, People, Asset and Finance. Together these five strategies make up the network of CFA strategies. Consultation is currently occurring to validate the direction that CFA is taking over the course of the strategy, as well as ensuring it is well understood by everyone in the organisation. This includes visiting districts and regions, as well as conducting sessions at other CFA locations and with our partners and stakeholders. Log on to CFA Online to view a copy of the Service Delivery Strategy 2015-2020 and provide your feedback on the Service Delivery Strategy Discussion website. Volunteer Emergency Service Equipment Program The Volunteer Emergency Service Equipment Program (VESEP) is now open for 2015-16 applications. VESEP provides funding to eligible Volunteer Emergency Services to purchase ancillary equipment in recognition of volunteer’s ongoing contribution in protecting Victorian communities. Applications need to be submitted to districts by 27 April 2015. The program includes four categories: Volunteer amenities <5K Minor works <75K Operational equipment Tankers and specialist appliances. Brigades/groups can apply for one project per funding round as outlined within Emergency Management Victoria guidelines. All brigade and group secretaries have been posted the application packs which include EMV brochure, CFA guidelines and application forms. Further information is available from Brigades Online, the CFA Intranet or the VFBV website.

4.06 PM 8 April, 2015

The future after Fiskville, WWI connections, District 27

Thinking about the future after Fiskville Last week the CFA Board made the decision to permanently close Fiskville. On the basis of recent water tests, the Board decided that they could no longer guarantee the health and safety of our people and our visitors. The site will be shut permanently. This is a sad time for CFA. I sense the great empathy across the broader CFA and a collective sadness. Our responsibility is now to care for the staff from Fiskville. We need to accept that the Board has made a careful and considered decision and a lawful one. As Board Chair Claire Higgins and CEO Michael Wootten emphasise now is the time to look to the future.  Investigations into alternate training sites are underway. We need to consider how and where we deliver training in fire investigation, plantation and forest firefighting, TEWTS and driver training. We need to think about where and how we exhibit our past and present culture – photos, trophies and paintings. The future of the memorial wall must be discussed, not just with CFA members but with the bereaved families of those members who have lost their lives serving the community through CFA.  So many aspects of our culture, our history, our camaraderie and our “feeling of home” are strongly tied to Fiskville. So now it is really important to focus on how we develop a new facility that meets our needs. Sometime soon, we also need to have an opportunity to celebrate the good times of Fiskville.  The past few weeks have been sad and uncertain. We need to design a future that is positive, certain and a place for CFA to feel proud about. This will take some time. Keep talking to your colleagues, friends and families. Stay positive. Focus on supporting those directly affected by this decision. CFA’s Leadership Team, through CEO Michael Wootten is committed to keeping you informed as the future is considered. CFA’s peers, chaplains and Member Assistance Program are available  to anyone who might feel they need support through this tough time. Has your brigade a connection to the First World War?With the 100th anniversary of the ANZAC landing at Gallipoli coming up, it is appropriate to think about the relevance of this event to CFA. Although CFA was formed in 1945, it was preceded by the Country Fire Brigades Board (from 1890) and prior to that, individual town fire brigades. The official CFA history records that “after war was declared in August 1914, hundreds of bronzed, fit young Australians downed their tools, rakes and hoes, pens and hammers to enlist in the first Australian Imperial Force (AIF)”.  In December 1914, the CFBB had 2,444 registered volunteers.  By 1917 the numbers had fallen to 2,265. By the end of the war, a total of 893 of the then 2,308 registered volunteers had enlisted in the AIF – this is more than one in three. Between 1914 and 1918, 147 CFBB volunteers were killed in action and a further 191 were wounded. The AIF was a largely volunteer force, drawn from people from all walks of life from almost every settlement in the country. There is a striking commonality with CFA (and the then CFBB): just as CFA is a volunteer-based service, so too was the AIF. Volunteering was one of the characteristics of our diggers – and it continues to be part of the spirit of Australia.  We, as a volunteer-based fire and emergency service, should be proud of this connection. Does your brigade have connections to or memories of First World War soldiers, sailors, airmen and nurses? Do you know their names? Have you any histories or stories to share? On this the centenary of the landing at Gallipoli, we should be ready to commemorate their service and our connection with their fire service history. District 27 Is now operationalYesterday Minister Jane Garrett officially opened the doors at the new District 27 Headquarters at Morwell. Six months in the planning, ACO Trevor Owen, OM Bill Johnstone and DPC Chair Steve Barling have led volunteers and staff to a very successful conclusion in a very short time frame. There was a very large crowd from state and local government elected representatives, volunteers, collaborating organisations and local industry to reinforce the tremendous relationships that exist between the key players in this area of critical importance to the state.  Minister Garrett also handed over the keys of two compressed air foam units (looking resplendent in her newly-issued wildfire PPC!).

6.26 PM 2 April, 2015

Fire and Emergency Management Restructure

We have been listening to your feedback on the proposed new Fire and Emergency Management design. Formal consultation commenced on 9 December 2014 and concluded on the 9 March 2015. The proposed design is intended to reinforce our focus on delivering services to the community and to support brigades to do their job. It aims to organise resources closest to the point of service delivery. The proposed changes need to be seen in the context of: a new Government with new commitments; the evolution of Emergency Management Victoria; changes at the Executive level and a reorganisation of functions and teams; the review of the Volunteer Support Program, which will allocate additional resources to F&EM; and on-going discussion and negotiation with industrial bodies. A range of feedback has been received through the survey, briefings and detailed submissions. Some of the key themes included: support for a consistent scalable resource model across all Districts that must be able to be influenced by local risk and need; support for the service delivery model and the service delivery strategy; limited succession opportunities between employment streams; [needs more examination] requests to change role classifications [classifications continue to be based on position descriptions] show the linkages to other Directorates so the total picture of systems of work are apparent; concern that the restructure appears to be an “accounting exercise” [CFA is a public sector organisation and we have a responsibility to have the most efficient and effective structure in place] impact on the ability of PTA staff to provide operational and incident management support; a lack of clarity about how embedded functions will operate (i.e. Finance, Human Resources); numerous questions about the future approach to training delivery and whether training delivery should be under the Chief Officer; [this is the subject of current discussion at the Executive level] the need for greater support to community safety functions; [this is the subject of ongoing discussion around the utilisation of summer preparedness funding] differing views on operational titles; and [will be considered as part of the Enterprise Bargaining Agreement] gaps in provision of personnel with specialist technical ability i.e. aviation, fire investigation. [options are being considered] As a result of feedback the following propositions will not proceed: replacing the Manager Community Safety role with the Manager Prevention and Preparedness; and removal of the Brigade Administration Support Co-ordinator role. Where to from here: further discussion with industrial bodies; appointment of an F&EM Transition Manager and regional transition contacts; endorsement by the CFA Executive Leadership Team of F&EM’s final design (which has minimal departure from the F&EM HQ structure currently in place); finalisation of position descriptions; examination of substantive positions (under new design) against current workforce; development of a Transition Plan; and a re-examination of the F&EM HQ structure against the reorganisation of Directorate functions and teams announced by the CEO. I thank you for your patience. Restructuring is never easy. We will keep on communicating progress regularly. We expect to be well progressed with the Region and District matching process by the end of May. In the meantime, enquiries should be directed to your AC/O, DC/O or Executive Manager.

4.50 PM 20 March, 2015

Update to Safety Alert - Wildland PPC, Recruit Course Commencing 6 March 2015

As an update to the recent Safety Alert 36 – Wildland Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) the following further advice is provided: • Testing has commenced of wildfire PPC that reflects its actual storage, handling and use arrangements within CFA. This testing is in response to the AFAC Industry Safety Advice following the identification of a potential concern related to formaldehyde levels in some test results of PROBAN® treated products. CFA wildfire PPC and overalls contain PROBAN®, which provides the flame retardant capability. It's planned this testing will continue into next week to ensure the testing scenarios are reflective of our practices. As the results are available CFA will be able to provide clear guidance on:o any actual risks from the storage, handling and use arrangements within a field environmento amendments to any practices in CFA and/or the AFAC recommendations • Washing of wildfire PPC should follow the manufacturer's instructions. • It is not necessary to wash wildfire PPC after every wear (i.e. attendance at false alarm, brigade activities). It is recommended that PPC is washed when it is soiled or heavily affected by ash or smoke. • Given that the washing and drying process is relatively simple and in most cases can be completed within 24hrs, brigades would need to demonstrate a compelling reason before additional PPC could be issued. Brigades may need to consider the timing of PPC cleaning and rotation of gear to ensure a response capacity together with utilising any spare PPC within the brigade. If a brigade has a concern about its ability to respond during cleaning of PPC this should be raised with the relevant catchment officer. • Fire services in conjunction with AFAC are working through this issue. More research and investigation is required before we can provide definitive advice that confirms the extent of the problem and action that needs to be taken. • More information on formaldehyde is available here. CFA Recruit Course Commencing 6 March 2015 The first of this year's CFA recruit firefighter training courses begins on 6 March 2015 at Emergency Management Victorian Training Centre (VEMTC) Craigieburn. 30 CFA recruits will take part in the course which will be conducted over an 18.8 week period. A Coordinator plus eight instructors are now being appointed and will be drawn from CFA integrated fire stations across numerous Districts. The course syllabus will be delivered on a four day on and four day off roster and for the first time, CFA recruits will be trained in emergency medical awareness. Of CFA's successful candidates – 36% have CFA volunteer experience, 56% are from regional parts of Victoria with the remainder coming from urban Melbourne areas. As usual, recruits come from a range of work experience backgrounds and the latest group include many who have worked in trades and government jobs. This latest recruit course is the second to be held at VEMTC Craigieburn and follows the plan of the State Training Strategy developed by EMV in partnership with CFA, MFB, and the other emergency management agencies. Another CFA recruit training course will begin on 22 March, and two more are programmed in August this year. The move of the CFA recruit training course to Craigieburn increases Fiskville's capacity for other training. In fact, the new training schedule will cater for an expected increase on the 2015 promotional assessment and development courses and also an increase in the throughput of volunteer skills acquisition and maintenance courses. In 2015, we also expect that there will be an increase in both CFA and external use of the Fiskville conference and hospitality facilities. Operations Manager James Dullard was recently appointed as Interim Manager of Operations Training Delivery to provide stability to the facility throughout this transitional period. I am sure you will join me in congratulating James and wish him well in the managing the future expansion of operational training courses.

5.34 PM 27 February, 2015

Wildland Personal Protective Clothing

Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) commissioned CSIRO to conduct research to assess contaminants in the PROBAN® treated cotton PPC.

12.18 PM 26 February, 2015

Critical thinking research, Planned Burning Project, Fuel management on public land

Critical thinking research Brian Basham, Griffith University, is researching the development of critical thinking in emergency service personnel within Ambulance Victoria, Victoria Police and CFA. His research study seeks to examine how critical thinking should be defined within an emergency service training context. It also seeks to evaluate the efficacy of the teaching/training used in emergency service organisations to develop critical thinking skills and to examine the most appropriate methods for assessing critical thinking development. He is seeking 20 firefighters to participate in an interview about their understanding of critical thinking and how it is developed. To qualify to participate you must be: over 18 years of age; have two years operational experience with CFA (either as a career firefighter or volunteer); and not be a full time employee of Ambulance Victoria or Victoria Police. Anyone interested in participating in the research can get further information by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. //   or phoning 0437 327 150. The outcomes of the research will be carefully considered by CFA. Planned Burning Project The CFA Planned Burning Project is funded for three years until mid-2017. The project will run in parallel to the Vegetation Management Program already delivered in regions and districts through Vegetation Management Officers. The scope of the project is within two of DELWP’s priority Risk Landscapes, specifically the Barwon Otway and East Central areas. Work commenced in December 2014 with the appointment of Brenton Hastie as the Project Manager and subsequently the completion of the CFA Project Plan. The aim of the project is to increase CFA’s support to public land planned burning and increase CFA’s overall capacity and capability in applying fire to the landscape. The benefits from the project will be for all of CFA through the improvements of inter-agency systems, development of training and increased support to burn camps. Project progress to date includes: appointment of Landscape Risk Coordinators, who will start in late March and be dedicated three days per week to work with DELWP in their Risk Landscape Teams; commencement of the Request for Quote process for the development of 'Burn OIC' training, a two-day course targeting volunteers wishing to run planned burns; meetings with relevant inter-agency stakeholders to explain the project deliverables. In the coming month, the priority will be to meet with district and regional personnel to introduce the project and answer questions about the role of the Landscape Risk Coordinators and Planned Burn Resource Coordinators. Review of performance targets for bushfire fuel management on public land The Inspector General Emergency Management (IGEM) has been asked by Government to provide recommendations regarding the most effective performance target to drive investment and delivery of the fuel management program on public land, taking into account the intent of recommendation 56 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, experience of the effectiveness of hectare-based targets, and the risk-based approach to bushfire management developed by DELWP. CFA will be meeting with IGEM to inform this review and support them in their deliberations.   “Properly carried out, prescribed burning reduces the spread and severity of bushfire. It makes a valuable contribution to reducing the risks to communities and firefighters by complementing effective suppression and is one of the essential protective strategies associated with making it safer for people to live and work in bushfire-prone areas in the state.”                                              Bushfires Royal Commission Final Report

2.45 PM 20 February, 2015

Listen live to radio dispatch feeds

CFA members can now tune into regional radio dispatch traffic from anywhere in the state using a free website Broadcastify. The website allows members to stream, or download, live audio of Vicfire (ESTA) dispatching trucks to local incidents or emergencies in their district. The website is free to access, easy to use and it will give members the same audio currently available on their scanners or listening sets. To listen to the radio feeds members can search by their location, or can find a full list of the official feeds here by scrolling down to the 'Country Fire Authority'. This gives members another way to access dispatch traffic regardless of their location – for example being able to tap into dispatch traffic as it's happening in District 4, or District 24 or over the border. Broadcastify is used by many other emergency services around the world and is dedicated to streaming dispatch radio traffic. The website is mobile friendly, and there are a range of free and paid apps available to download on smart phones and tablets which are compatible with both Android and Apple devices. Members don't need to subscribe or sign up to listen to the feeds, however, as with any live streaming, it does require data downloads and members are reminded to check with their internet provider about their usage. A 'beep' will sound every sixty seconds to let the listener know if there is no traffic on the feed. This also helps remind listeners they are still downloading the stream even if there's no traffic. While it's expected the site will be used largely by volunteers in regional areas, it will be accessible to the general public if they are interested in tuning in. The service is provided following a range of consultation with members and VFBV to ensure it best suits our collective needs. The website also gives members an immediate option to listen to dispatch traffic while we put a supply contract in place for the new digital listening sets. CFA is currently reviewing the tenders for the digital listening sets, which closed last month, and will announce a decision when a supplier has been chosen. Extension to consultation for Fire & Emergency Management restructure Thank you to everyone who has provided comments on the restructure proposals for Fire and Emergency Management (F&EM). In light of requests received to extend the consultation, F&EM are supportive of extending the consultation until Monday 9 March. This will allow more time for us to discuss the restructure and the feedback with our members and with VFBV and unions. The unions have been advised of this timeframe extension. Should you wish to provide further feedback or you missed the original end date it's not too late. There are a range of ways that you can provide feedback - via the dedicated email accounts, responding to the survey or through your line manager. The draft proposals and draft position descriptions are available on the intranet or Brigades Online. We are carefully analysing all the feedback received. Your feedback on our structure proposals will be used to inform the final structure. No decisions will be made on the structure without understanding the current and future relationships and linkages with other directorates' structures and functions. RegardsEuan Ferguson AFSMChief Officer "We should be as careful of our words as of our actions"Roman philosopher Marcus Tullius Cicero

10.45 AM 11 February, 2015

National Terrorism Threat Level for police raised to HIGH

In light of recent events in Endeavour Hills here in Victoria and Martin Place in Sydney – as well as overseas in France, Belgium and Canada – the Australian Federal Police Commissioner on 20 January announced that the National Terrorism Threat Level for police has been officially raised to 'HIGH'. Advice from Victoria Police indicates there is no change to the threat levels for firefighters and this remains at 'LOW'. It is important to note that Victoria Police are not aware, at this stage, of any specific threats here in Victoria. However, it is important that we remain vigilant and continue to take appropriate precautions. We frequently discuss security and threat levels with Victoria Police Command, Emergency Management Commissioner and other emergency service agencies in order to determine what actions, if any, are required to safeguard the wellbeing of CFA people. The following advice is now provided: When attending incidents, exercise heightened vigilance. In the event of any concerns, notify VicFire and ask that police attend, then withdraw to a safe location to await police attendance. Some emergency service members have expressed concern that fire services uniforms look similar to Victoria Police uniforms. In recognition of this, CFA members that are concerned, should minimise wearing their uniform when off duty and remove agency lanyards. A further option available is to revert to wearing the CFA light blue shirt (operational staff are reminded that this shirt is not fire rated). I remind members to make sure when entering CFA secured premises that doors are properly closed and visitors are properly escorted. Any suspicious activity is to be reported. Please consider carefully any posts on social media that may identify you as a CFA member. You should refrain from commenting on current security events and terrorist activities in general. Participation in planned community events should continue as usual. If you have any specific concerns you should raise these with your catchment officer or event organisers. This is a matter that none of us can be complacent about. However, we must exercise our judgement and take reasonable precautions which will be balanced against continuing our day-to-day activities. I will keep you updated on any developments and provide further information and guidance as it becomes available. Questions should be directed to your catchment officer or immediate supervisor. Thank you. Regards Euan Ferguson AFSMChief Officer

10.42 AM 27 January, 2015
Page 1 of 9