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Respected throughout the Victorian firefighting family, Chief Officer Steve Warrington presents in an authoritative and knowledgeable manner.
Outside the uniform though, how does the man responsible for overseeing Victoria’s firefighting operations relax?
“Give me a good book to read anytime. I don’t watch much TV, I really like reading,” Steve said.
The athlete who joined CFA (Doveton) as a volunteer in 1978 to participate in the running team and earn a scouts badge for community service, Steve has remained ensconced in the CFA family.
He admits he was naive about the requirements of becoming a firefighter and the education required, but in 1983 the drifting Steve locked onto his purpose.
“Once I joined I was out for a career in firefighting but when I look back I am amazed how naive I was on what I needed to do. But there was no Plan B, if I didn’t get in I hadn’t thought about another option,” Steve said.
Steve has spent most of his career in District 8 but has worked as far away as Mildura and volunteered, as well as being employed as a firefighter, at numerous brigades.
It is through this experience that Steve understands the unique balance CFA presents, incorporating the sprawling urban community with remote country communities.
“I was always working for the CFA. I liked the idea of moving to the country and the options that it provided,” Steve said.
Raised in Aspendale, this St Kilda Football Club member devotes efforts into renovating homes and dropping a line into the water.
This summer Steve has a new toy with the purchase of his first boat, which he’ll take to his favourite spots along the Gippsland coastline.
Steve has five kids and lists as one of his greatest achievements the pride he has in the quintet and how his family relates.
He does confess though that it isn’t photos of kids that get proudly shown at parties.
“I am one of those annoying people who have photos on my phone of a kitchen I’ve renovated and what I’ve built at each house,” Steve said.
If he had a dinner party to show the photos, either alive or dead, two world leaders head the guest list.
“I’d have Barack Obama – I just love listening to his speeches and Sir John Monash. I just love learning about the adversity and challenges he faced,” Steve said.
In his time Steve admires the change within CFA ranks and rates the obvious, and less obvious, changes among his greatest achievements in his career.
“When I first started it was all blokes and you look back now, especially on the antics, and you wouldn’t tolerate some of that behaviour today,” Steve said.
“I have great admiration for the early female firefighters and what a fantastic job they did in paving the way for today’s generation.
“When you think of facilities and items posted on walls, they really did a great job in pioneering for others.
“Even from a recruitment perspective, traditionally firefighters were identified for size and physical strength, which meant you had a physically strong workforce.
“Today we recruit well-rounded people to perform a variety of roles including education and community relations.
“I think the modern day role of the firefighter is much more connected to community relations.
“As well, I believe we as the CFA have matured as an organisation.”