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'Bomberos for CFA' partnership
CFA is excited to be working closely with the Consulate-General of Chile in Melbourne to develop a proposal called 'Bomberos for CFA' aimed at using the volunteer ethos, skills and expertise of the Chilean community in Victoria.
The project was initiated to commemorate Chile’s bicentenary and the Chilean 'Bomberos' (firefighters) countrywide volunteer culture. The Consul-General of Chile in Melbourne, Diego Velasco-von Pilgrimm, recognised the similarities between the Bomberos and CFA and was fielding numerous enquiries from the Chilean community as to how they could help CFA.
Chile has a proud and distinguished history of volunteer firefighting dating back to the 1850s. The Bomberos are all volunteers and are the most-respected institution in the country. As with CFA, Chilean firefightersare highly trained, experienced and have very stringent demands and expectations placed on them. For instance, the Bomberos volunteers live at the station during their rostered period, are stringently performance measured and accountable, and their training programs and manuals are very similar to CFA's. Further, Chile and Victoria share similarities of geography, weather and fire conditions.
The Bomberos are one of the few fully volunteer firefighting agencies in the world. The shared bonds between CFA and Bomberos de Chile bode well for ongoing cooperation into the future.
The project, being run by the Engaging Diverse Communities team within Operational Training and Volunteerism, aims to attract people from Spanish-speaking backgrounds in support of CFA tasks, which may include operational or non-operational roles.
Districts 8 and 13 have already expressed interest in using the skills of their Chilean communities to fill operational roles and non-operational roles including Spanish-speaking CALD spokespeople for community engagement and education roles.
This partnership is attracting a lot of interest, including from senior government officials such as the Ministries of Multicultural Affairs and Citizenship and Police and Emergency Services, the Victorian Multicultural Commission and also SBS.