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Commissioner video update 24/3/14
We’ve made it to the end of March and it’s been a very, very busy summer period. You think about heat waves, you think about fires, you think about the challenges of being prepared for what was a season that we predicted to be very busy.
I’m very pleased to have with me all of the chiefs. The chief fire officers, the chief of SES, to just say thank you to everyone. It’s been a busy time, and our involvement with so many people is so important and we value everyone’s contribution. It’s about those that are on the back of fire trucks, those that are in municipalities working. To get all that coordination happening, to those in the agencies it’s sometimes beavering away at issues that are so detailed and don’t always get the opportunities to be thanked. So we thank you to everyone that’s been involved.
The Victorian community is a key part of it. People have tuned into these videos every week to get the latest update. No matter where you are, the fact that we’ve been able to get information out in a timely way has been one of those critical things that I think has been valuable. I’d like to say thank you to you as a viewer, for listening to us tell the story about what the fire season’s meant to us and more importantly to you. So I’ll hand over to the chiefs and let them say thank you. There are some really important words that we should all take time to dwell on, respect and understand.
Euan Ferguson, CFA Chief Officer
2013-14 fire season has been very busy. It started in October with support to NSW, and during both January and February significant lightning fires and lots and lots of small fires which were kept small by the determined efforts of the Victorian fire services. On behalf of all the fire chiefs and the Fire Services Commissioner I just want to add my sincere thanks to everyone who ahs been involved. At the start of the fire season we reinforced the importance of messaging and protecting the community, we reinforced the need to work as one, and in reviewing our efforts over the fire season we can all be jointly very satisfied with the outcome.
We’ve seen some long duration forest fires, particularly in Gippsland. We’ve seen the Hazelwood mine fire, we’ve seen support from many states and New Zealand into Victoria this year, and I think everyone has performed absolutely magnificently. I just want to reinforce the importance of your individual effort. No matter how small your role has been, no matter which agency you have been working for, your effort has made a difference in protecting the community of Victoria, our critical infrastructure and our public assets, you’ve made a great difference and a great effort. Thank you sincerely, job well done.
Trevor White, SES Chief Officer
I’d just like to offer my sincere thanks to everyone in emergency management in Victoria for their outstanding efforts over what has been a very long and difficult bushfire season with the added complexity of a fire in the Morwell open cut at Hazelwood. In particular I’d like to acknowledge the volunteers who have kept up their commitment right throughout the bushfire season. A special thanks to the SES volunteers for the vital role they’ve played in supporting staging areas, logistics and ground support, and also conveying messages to the community and supporting evacuation management. This work is quite important and has been vital in assisting the fire agencies to do their job. Thank you.
Alan Goodwin, DEPI Chief Fire Officer
I just want to say a really big thank you to all the DEPI, Parks Victoria, Melbourne Water and Vic Forest staff that have attended fires this year. There’s been over 800 fires across the state, and we know we started early in the season with fires in the Mallee and the Grampians and then of course the work that’s gone into the fires in far east Gippsland, plus many other fires across the states where we’ve either led or supported the other fire agencies. It’s been quite a big effort, we’ve also spent a lot of time with people in incident management teams at the Morwell fire, a fire that heavily affected central Gippsland. So it’s with a sincere thanks on behalf of all the agencies and the Fire Services Commissioner that I say a really good effort from everybody across the state to contribute to help making Victoria safer.
Peter Rau, MFB Acting Chief Officer
I’d just like to say thank you very much to the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, it’s members not just firefighters but the broad range of support staff that have assisted during this unprecedented response from the MFB this season. We’ve been in locations that we’ve never been before. We’ve been in Halls Gap and Stawell, and obviously recently down at the mines at Hazelwood in Morwell. The efforts that have been put in place by our people have been fantastic. What’s been really pleasing is when I’ve visited those locations to see a whole range of shirts standing side by side working as one. It’s been fantastic, I think it’s a sign of things to come in the future, and I’d like to again thank you very much for your efforts this year.