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Alan Davies, Hume Regional Director on incident management training
The second half of 2012 sees us rolling out an initiative I feel will bring enormous benefits in building volunteer capacity and capability for incident response.
Training exercises for incident management personnel will be held around Hume region up until late September and resume next year at the end of the Fire Danger Period.
This initiative is all about having local command facilities (LCFs) in a high state of readiness with dedicated and well-rehearsed incident management teams. Those small but flexible teams will have the capacity to fill a variety of functional roles, enabling transitions from Level 1 to Level 2 incidents to happen as effectively as possible.
For Hume, and no doubt for other CFA regions, the challenge for some time has been making sure that we have the best possible people both on the fire truck and filling those critical roles within the incident management team.
Rather than an ad hoc approach where personnel are making last-minute calls on whether they should be in the local LCF or on the truck, we need to be sure our systems are ready to go and our people have a clear idea of where they should be.
These facilities are a vital link between the fireground and the district rostered duty officer, supporting our firefighters so they can concentrate on working safely and effectively. That's why it's so important to have those appropriate and well-trained people earmarked to be there at the point where they are needed.
Andrew Payne-Croston, one of our senior training advisers, has spent a considerable amount of time going through local networks to identify people from brigades and the wider community who can bring to the table their experience in data management, administration or logistics.
A great example is Tungamah, where we've trained the local postmistress because her life skills tick all the right boxes for the job in terms of information management and coordination.
The program addresses a key objective for Hume - developing our volunteers while supporting front-end service delivery. It's an intensive process, involving three separate exercises per location, but the results will be well worth it.
I'd like to acknowledge the work of everyone who's been involved with the initiative to date and look forward to seeing improvements across the board to our local command and control arrangements.