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CFA Sunday, LACES, White Ribbon Day
We thank and congratulate all those 400+ CFA brigades who opened their doors on CFA Sunday. Many Brigades reported very large numbers of the public streaming in to meet CFA members. We will be formally reviewing the success of the day to see how we can build on its success in the future. "Well done!" also goes to the planners, organisers and participants of "Exercise Fudo" which was held on Sunday 27th November in the Warrandyte and North Warrandyte area. This exercise which combined incident management teams, staging area managers, logistics support, airbase management, tactical exercises and fireground command involved around 1000 personnel from CFA, MFB, DSE, Parks Vic, SES, VicPol, Local Government, Salvation Army, St Johns, the State Aircraft Unit and ESTA. Strike Teams from Districts 8, 12, 13 and 14 travelled to the area to participate. In spite of the damp weather preceding the exercise, it was a resounding success. Thank you and job well done goes to the Ex Director LFF Troy Lowther and the Ex team of SSO Brian Wright (CFA); SO Stuart Morris (MFB); Snr Sgt Peter O'Connor (VicPol).
Recently I attended an exercise where a member referred to the use of a "spotter" in a particular tactical situation. It reminded me of the content of a brochure that was mailed out to CFA members earlier this year. The brochure contained information on Hazardous Trees and on LACES. LACES is an easily remembered acronym that stands for LOOKOUTS; (SITUATIONAL) AWARENESS; COMMUNICATIONS; ESCAPE ROUTES and SAFETY ZONES. LACES is a bushfire safety aide that has been derived from the "Ten Standard Fire Orders" and the "Eighteen Situations That Shout Watch Out!". From my experience, keeping LACES at the front of your mind on the fireground can lead to a safer fireground. LACES challenges you to consider placing a lookout in a prominent position. It reinforces the need to ensure that everyone maintains an awareness of the situation around them, and to communicate any unusual or developing hazards they notice. Finally it reinforces that, at all times, we need to have an escape route (preferably two) to a safety zone in case a worst case scenario eventuates. I command the LACES thinking to you. It is easily remembered and easily understood. It might be a great topic to talk about for 10 or 15 minutes next time you start a Brigade meeting.
White Ribbon Day - Men Making A Stand Against Violence Against Women:
Last Friday was White Ribbon Day. I am a White Ribbon ambassador. As an ambassador I've pledged never to commit, excuse or be silent about violence against women. I was pleased to lead a collective of CFA men who swore this as an oath at CFA Headquarters last Friday. It is sad and shocking to know that one in three Australian women have experienced physical or sexual violence. These women are our mothers, our daughters, our wives, our girlfriends, our work colleagues, our friends and, sadly, sometimes our CFA colleagues. I call upon all men in CFA to join with me in preventing violence, in any form, against women.
Divisional Command And Transition Of Control:
Two issues that have arisen from the pre-season briefings and from the eight Exercise Belenus incident management exercises have been: clarity around establishing Divisional Command; and transfer of control. The three agency Chiefs and the Fire Services Commissioner are aware of the issues and are using the Level 3 Incident Management Team briefings to discuss how we get greater clarity on these two issues. Following the last Level 3 IMT briefing this week, it is proposed to issue a pictorial depiction of both issues to clarify thinking. What is clear though, is that control needs to be escalated whenever one or more of the following situations might occur:
- You are unable to exercise command (including prioritising tasks) over the resources allocated to the incident.
- You are unable to predict incident progression in the next 4 hours.
- You are unable to issue and monitor warnings to the community.