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Faces of CFA: Wendy Pearce
What binds CFA members is the common goal to protect lives and property, but you’re a diverse bunch. Every member has a story and Faces of CFA introduces you to just some of those stories.
Wendy Pearce, Kyneton Fire Brigade and Kyneton Group
What are your CFA roles?
I’m currently the Kyneton Group communications officer, the Kyneton Fire Brigade secretary and a logistics officer level 2/3. My primary role is now in logistics in an incident management team member at the Kyneton LCF, Gisborne ICC and other ICCs and MERCs as requested.
I was previously the secretary of Pastoria and Darnum-Ellinbank brigades and the Kyneton brigade communications officer.
Why did you join?
Initially I joined as a community member to support emergency response in the local area.
My interest in CFA increased as my husband was heavily involved as a staff member then a volunteer. I was interested in what he did and was keen to develop my skills in the areas that interested me – logistics, communications and administration.
How long have you been a member of CFA?
I have been a member since 1982.
What was the first incident you attended?
The first major incident was the Maryborough fires of 1985 when I volunteered as an IMT team member at CFA headquarters. My time was spent in administrative support and the roles were varied. It was a good chance to see behind the scenes and learn how incidents were managed at all levels.
Since then I’ve worked in communications and logistics at the Spring Hill fire of 1998, Black Saturday in the Kyneton LCF, at Gisborne ICC for the Benloch/ Lancefield fire of 2015 and the Edgecombe Road fire of 2016 and at a range of IMTs and events around Victoria.
What incident has had the greatest impact on you?
Probably the Benloch/Lancefield fire of 2015 as this was a fire local to our group area. I was volunteering at Gisborne ICC as logistics officer on what was thought to be a stand-by day only. It then became three very long days at Gisborne ICC providing resources to the fireground.
It was interesting to see the development of this event from an ICC point of view as more and more people came on board. It was a sad event for those affected but a huge learning opportunity for me.
What CFA training have you got the most out of?
I’ve enjoyed training in mapping, communications and media but the best training was in logistics. This was very enlightening and provided a sound base for my volunteering in this area. Additionally, on the job training has proved to be highly valuable.
Who has been your mentor in CFA?
My best mentor has been my husband John Pearce who, as an ex regional officer, is a wealth of information not only about CFA administration and procedures but also about fire behaviour and management.
What do you do for a living outside of the CFA?
I’m a retired primary school principal. For the past two years, I’ve been working part time in the area of assessment and reporting for international students.
What has been the highlight of your time in CFA?
The highlight has been the overall opportunity to make friendships, the chance to learn new things and support the community.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining CFA?
There is a wide range of ways in which you can be involved from active firefighter to brigade member or Junior. Volunteering with CFA is a chance to support your local community and other communities in times of need. The skills you bring to CFA from your own experiences and from your paid work can help improve the way volunteers respond to community needs. Being part of the team is also lots of fun.