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Camaraderie comes out on days like this
Scoresby brigade’s Jim Read is just one of many CFA members with a background in policing. And like many, he will have good reason to pause and reflect on Blue Ribbon day (29 September).
“The day has always been important to me,” says Jim, a 30-year stalwart at Scoresby, who adds that he knows several police members who have died in service, especially in motor vehicle accidents.
“It’s a day to reflect, to think ‘there but for the grace of God goes I.’”
Jim himself has personally experienced some near misses while involved in police incidents on the old Hume highway. He believes the great camaraderie that exists between the emergency services comes through on days like Blue Ribbon day, or CFA’s firefighter memorial service.
“Everyone understands it is dangerous. The liaison between agencies is much closer now than it ever was before – it’s not ‘your job’ or ‘my job’ any more, we work together. You know them and what their strength are, and what they can do to assist you to mitigate that emergency.”
Jim joined Victoria Police in 1973 and worked at a few locations in Melbourne before transferring out to Wangaratta, where he signed up with the CFA at Wangaratta. (He’d previously been a member with Tolmie and District and Mt Evelyn).
Coming back to Scoresby in Melbourne’s south-east suburbs in ‘85, Jim made driving VKC 3, 4 and 5, visible and covert communications units, both on and off road, his area of expertise. This saw him working on a range of special operations across Victoria and interstate.
Jim says his time working in country policing taught him self-reliance, and the importance of trust and support between the emergency services.
“You have to be pretty smart about yourself, you can be in charge of a large area and working by yourself,” he explains.
“On scene at incidents it was good having someone in both camps because people from both sides would often want to talk to someone from the other side. I was able to do a lot of that cross-pollination.”
Jim says there is large number of police members in CFA, “and they all add a lot of value.”
His training and experience means that even when wearing a brigade member ‘hat’ his training allows him identify the signs which indicate a police investigation is required.
A few years back, Victoria Police turned to Jim for a vital piece of work: re-writing their emergency manual so it fit in with AIIMS, the incident management system used by all emergency management agencies in Australia. “VICPOL gave me that role because of my experience in CFA and Emergency Management,” says Jim.
“It was about making sure sure we were all singing out of the same hymnbook. Getting the same structures in place has allowed us to all dovetail and get the job got done.
“Fire Services now attend more critical and police incidents than ever before, it’s now a whole of government response from response to rehabilitation, and our systems are now in parallel.”
To find out about Blue Ribbon Day services in our area, visit www.remember.org.au
To read more about CFA’s support including a Blue Ribbon Day morning tea to be held at CFA Headquarters, read a story here: http://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/support-blue-ribbon-day.html