News & Media

Extraordinary efforts over a long summer

By: Don Kelly

  11.00 AM 6 March, 2013

Views: 2235

With the end of the fire season closing, let me first commend all the brigades in the Grampians region for their outstanding efforts during this long, hot and dry fire season that demanded so much of our people over the summer.

There have been some extraordinary efforts by our brigades that not only responded to large and difficult fires in our region, but also provided many strike teams to campaign bushfires in neighbouring regions. Our staff and volunteers also made a very considerable and valuable contribution to the management of incident control centres and regional control centres. It's time to turn our attention to the ‘recovery' process.

Many members have not only been highly involved with fire and emergencies but also continue to attend work and operate their business and farms during one of the longest spells of dry weather in recent years. This has put added pressures on our members and their families, so now it's time to take stock of the wellbeing of each and every one of our members.

The personal impact on people can and does take a toll on all of us over time, and that's why it's important to observe how each of us is travelling in terms of physical and mental health. I encourage every member to talk this through with their colleagues and family.

Please remember that CFA offers a range of personal assistance to help you through stressful times. This includes our Peer Support Program that provides support to members who might need emotional and psychological help to deal with the potentially traumatic elements of their roles. 

Peers travel to wherever they are needed around the region and offer a skilled listening ear to help members and their families respond to traumatic and distressing events, as well as the cumulative difficulties that life sometimes throws our way. In all cases, the peer's goal is to help the individual to 'reconnect' with their own coping skills. Where more support is required, the peer acts as a skilled navigator and networker and will support their client to access other services.

CFA Members and their families are also able to access chaplaincy services within a pastoral care model in which all chaplains have counselling training. Psychologists can also be accessed through our Member Assistance Program. Both the psychologists and chaplains are provided through external contractors to guarantee their independence.

All services are confidential, free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  

On other ‘recovery' practices, the Grampians region will help with the annual internal Fire and Emergency Management Survey that's normally conducted at the end of the season. The survey consists of a range of questions that focus on operations, incident management and safety. This survey aims to gather information on organisational progress in addressing the priority operational issues identified during the 2012-13 fire season. The survey also presents an opportunity to validate the information provided in the pre-season briefings and joint operational arrangements.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015