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CFA/SES Operational Support Forum
An Operational Support Forum conducted by CFA in collaboration with SES was held at Fiskville on the 1-3 November 2013.
The forum was attended by 42 participants, 16 of 19 CFA HQ brigades were represented, five SES Regional Support Units were also represented.
The concept for the forum was initiated and championed by Janine Nolan, Ex Volunteer Captain HQ D8, and now HQ Brigade D9-10. Janine approached DCO Readiness & Response with the concept. This was driven by concerns relating to role clarity, support and utilization of HQ Brigades.
The concept was considered worthwhile and planning to resource and conduct of the forum was progressed. It was also agreed that this would be an opportunity to invite SES Regional Support Units to explore feasibility for interoperability.
DCO Joe Buffone opened the forum and established the approach and expectations for the weekend. DCO Steve Warrington presented the brigade classification framework that informed the forum on options for the future structure and roles for HQ Brigades. This included, focus on diversity, IMT and DECC support and Community Education/Engagement.
Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley provided his vision and potential future roles of HQ Brigades and RSU’s, this included but was not limited to: Multi-agency focus, non -traditional roles, relief and early recovery, SCC support, FBans, GIS, Incident Management support at Division, Region, State. Local planning and community engagement.
Steve Warren (SES MW Regional Manager) presented the SES RSU roles and expectations.
From the forum it has been seen that HQ FB’s and RSU’s perform a diverse range of functions and experience a varying degree of utilisation. Roles performed range from catering, MCV support, IMT/DECC support, fire investigation, staging area management and resourcing (trailers) , training and assessing, aviation support i.e bomber reloading, ground observers, scribes, safety officers.
The participants were allocated to three facilitated working groups to discuss and work through 4 main topics and from those discussions a collaboration of 11 key issues/opportunities were identified and have been submitted to CFA and SES.
The collaboration of CFA and SES staff and volunteers at all levels was the underpinning factor to the success of the forum.
Photo courtesy of Mark Slater (D24 HQ Brigade)