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Black woollen turnout coats, recruitment, welfare
A strong commendation to the Knox Group for the highly successful display of specialist appliances held on 22nd April. High praise goes to DGO's Ian Atherton, Peter Shaw and Lt2 Craig Williamson from Montrose. The display included specialist appliances and equipment from Australian Volunteer Coast Guard, Parks Victoria, Victoria Police, SES, St John Ambulance, DSE, Ambulance Victoria and MFB. Of course there were over 35 CFA vehicles participating. Acting DCO Gregg Patterson described the display as "awesome". Look forward to something bigger and better in 2014! Great leadership and initiative team - well done! For images of Knox Group's display, click here.
Our psychological safety is just as important as our physical safety. Working as a first responder in emergency services means we are exposed to circumstances and events that others would rarely see. Just like physical safety, there are steps we can take to eliminate or minimise our exposure to psychological risk. Our People and Culture team recently discussed with me some tips on how to include psychological safety into our daily practices:
• Minimise your exposure to traumatic images and sounds wherever possible. If you coordinate training for others in CFA, this should be a key message.
• Remove yourself and your team members wherever possible - if a turn out involves an MVA and fatality, keep non-essential personnel at a distance from the scene. Make sure crew members are not exposed for too long.
• Prepare yourself wherever possible - identify things that may be distressing to you and plan how you might deal with them.
• Look after each other and activate support services (such as peers) when you need to.
• Most importantly, be prepared to talk about your feelings and ask for help if you don't feel right.
CFA Recruit Course "Community Patrons":
Operations Officer Chris Bingham has provided details of a new initiative in our Fiskville recruit courses. Each recruit course will now have a "Community Patron". The intent is to broaden the leadership perspective and community links between CFA, our new recruits and prominent community leaders and role models. The Patron for course 1/2012 is Ms Carole Cook who is a paralympian and multiple sclerosis sufferer. Although living with the never-ending symptoms of this unpredictable disease, Carol has the strength and courage to get up each day with a positive and motivated attitude. She has learnt to live for today and not worry about what may or may not happen in the future. Carol believes that "nothing is impossible if we dare to face our fears and believe in ourselves and believes that the greatest pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do."
Black Woollen Turnout Coats:
Last week I participated in an on-line forum on "Protective clothing". A large number of participants raised concern about the policy on the wearing of the old black woolen turnout coats. The policy changed with the introduction of the new standard of Nomex or PBI Gold structural PPC. There is confusion about when and where the black turnout coats can be worn. In addition, there is a demand for a "cold weather" jacket for those without the new structural PPC. I have established a small advisory group to review the current situation and to provide advice on what the policy should be in the future. The group consists of: DCO John Haynes; Acting DCO Ross Sullivan; Adam Barnett (VFBV); Craig Ferguson (OT&V); and Mark Tarbett (Manager Protective Equipment Section). The intent is to identify issues around the wearing of black woolen turnout coats, provide clear guidance on the future policy on wearing of black woolen turnout coats and provide advice on options for the concept of warm jackets for members not issued with new structural PPC.
"Cowardice asks the question: Is it safe? Expediency asks the question: Is it politic? Vanity asks the question: Is it popular? But conscience asks the question: Is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular. But she must take it because her conscience tells her: It is right."
- attributed to Martin Luther