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February Board meeting
Victorian fire services are mourning the loss of four firefighters in the line of duty this fire season - an incalculable loss to their families, friends, colleagues and communities. CFA and the Department of Sustainability and Environment stand together, devastated by their tragic deaths that are all being investigated by the coroner.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson addressed the long and arduous fire season in his report to the Board and the risk of fatigue that comes along with it. The health and safety of our people on the frontline is the most important thing. The Chief expressed his absolute confidence in the professionalism of our firefighters, with a range of communication channels being used to reiterate key messages: look out for yourselves and each other, stay hydrated and maintain situational awareness.
Fireground injuries and ailments this season have ranged from debris in eyes through to a driving near-miss due to fatigue. Two vehicle rollovers are still under investigation.
Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria CEO Andrew Ford gave a presentation to the CFA Board on the results of their recent welfare and efficiency survey. The Board and senior management have been invited to work with VFBV to understand the issues and perceptions behind the survey results with a second survey to be conducted in March-April this year. All interested members are strongly encouraged to participate and share their views.
CEO Mick Bourke updated the Board on issues with the CFA website, especially the Incidents and Warnings page, and the Fire Ready app. The CEO led the project team investigating the website slowdown on the fire weather spike day of 4 January. He reported that the app placed heavy loads on the available bandwidth for data transfer which slowed and reduced the web service capacity. The website was stabilised and has been fully operational since 5 January.
We are working with the Department of Justice, Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Fire Services Commissioner, DSE and MFB on improving the settings for the app.
The CEO informed the Board of the appointment of former Victoria Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe as the independent monitor on Fiskville. Reporting directly to the CFA Board Acting Chair, Mr Walshe will oversee CFA's progress in implementing the ten recommendations and eleven management initiatives resulting from the Professor Joy report.
Mr Walshe's reports will be made available to the public, as was that of Professor Joy in July 2012.