News & Media

Canada deployment, spill tests, Ballarat power outages and remand centre debrief

By: Euan Ferguson

  11.47 AM 30 July, 2015

Views: 1376

The last few weeks have been a reminder of the year-round, 24x7 nature of our craft. There has been a constant level of activity with CFA brigades turning out to numerous house fires, motor vehicle accidents and rescues. In addition, a number of events have been coordinated at a state level.

Canada deployment

Over the last 10 days, we (with our Victorian and Australian fire partners) have managed the deployment of nine CFA members to be part of the 104-strong Australian firefighter deployment to Canada. Four of these nine are volunteers. My thanks to OM Peter Baker and Coordinator Luke Heagarty and our SCC support team for their hard work in making this all come together in a very quick time frame. For those who are interested, the exploits of the Canadian deployment can be found on CFA News & Media.

Mercury spill

CFA has also worked with the UFU and VFBV in responding to the consequences of a mercury spill and possible exposure of firefighters at Traralgon five weeks ago. I want to congratulate the team in the Latrobe Valley, particularly ACO Trevor Owen, RC Bryan Russell and the members of the IMT established to proactively manage the incident and engage with HSR and UFU at an early stage. This incident is still being worked through. Reassuringly, all the testing of potentially contaminated gear has shown no cause for concern. CFA will be offering ongoing medical checks for volunteers and career staff who may have been exposed to mercury during this incident.

Ballarat planning

CFA has also been involved in preparing for a possible significant (and medium term) power outage at Ballarat. Acting OM Gavin Hope has been managing the planning – especially for the Ballarat Base Hospital – if this power outage should occur. The outage has the potential to affect our own facilities as well as protected premises alarms. The latest advice is that it may be another week or more until the situation returns to normal.

Remand Centre debrief

Finally, CFA has debriefed from the recent Metropolitan Remand Centre riot at the Ravenhall correctional facility. The response to this incident included CFA, MFB, VicPol and Corrections. Since that event, CFA has been party to escalated readiness planning in relation to correctional facilities across the state. Thank you to those who have had to participate in the many meetings and teleconferences to get plans in place.  When the riot occurred on Tuesday 30 June OOs John Anderson and Steve Pitcher immediately responded to the prison into a very uncertain and complex environment. The value of the pre-plans and the developed relationships between John, Steve and the responders from VicPol, Corrections and MFB was evident. Along with DCO Steve Warrington, who attended to ensure the line of command and control was established, resulted in a very professional, seamless and orderly response to a challenging situation.

In closing, I reinforce our gratitude and thanks to the CFA team. Rarely does a day go by when CFA people, in one shape or form, aren’t in (or making) the news. You do incredibly important work. The community is better and safer because of your efforts, be it talking to schools, planning fire protection, engaging with industry or responding and dealing with community consequences.

Thank you. Keep up the outstanding work!

“We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world – Be Ready for the Unexpected!”

Last Updated: 10 December 2015