News & Media

Floods and live CO / CEO forum

By: Euan Ferguson

  11.00 AM 21 March, 2012

Views: 3986

Great Support To SES In North East and Gippsland Floods:

There has been lots of excellent work supporting SES in the last 2 ½ weeks in far east Gippsland and the north east. In a recent visit with SES Chief Officer Trevor White and CEO Mick Bourke, we saw first hand the efforts of CFA, SES, MFB, DSE, Army, Local Government along with Ambulance, DHS and a host of other organisations. This time around we enabled CFA commanders to be placed in positions or deputy positions at every level of the SES organisational structure.

This was a great help in identifying roles and resource requests. CFA members at every level provided great leadership and initiative. CFA has played a key role in planning and operations at State, Region, District, Incident and Divisional level command and control as well has having significant strike team support in sandbagging and clean up operations. One of the great benefits of visiting operations first hand is that we are able see first hand the needs of our front line people. Just as importantly, we are able to meet the real characters of CFA. Drivers Bob Kennedy and Andrew Payne-Crostin accompanied us to Katamatite where we met a tired Group Officer John Parnell and Captain Karen Nordbie and their brigade members. We also caught up with station staff David Maxwell, Tony Smith and David Wolff from Caroline Springs who were carrying out Rapid Impact Assessment with crews from the MFB. At Tungamah we caught up with Simon "Hector" Crawford("There was a job to be done and we did it") and Graeme Dickie who, with crews from St James, Wilby and Yabba, used the station siren to activate the whole community to assist with sandbagging operations. At NumurkahCaptain Paul Rees introduced us to the SES crews and those from CFA who assisted. Special mention must be made of Mel Lynd and James Chez who stepped up to lead when needed. Finally, at Nathalia we inspected temporary aluminium levees and inspected an incredible scene as the football club, netballers and corrections inmates worked side by side to fill and stack sandbags. We witnessed Sector Commander Neville "Choker" Carlin change over with the night shift at the Div Comm in a very impressive verbal briefing. A brilliant team effort ladies and gents - fantastic work!

Catching The CEO & The Chief Officer In Real Time:

From this evening, we will be implementing fortnightly live discussion sessions, hosted by CEO Mick Bourke and myself on an alternating basis. These discussions will allow you to have your questions answered in real time. The sessions are scheduled to complement the Chief Officer's talkback sessions with Kathy Bedford on ABC statewide country radio. Each session will focus on a different topic - starting tonight with a discussion about roadside burns. We will be listening for your suggestions about future topics. You can submit questions before the session by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or just login and ask them during the chat. If you happen to miss the session, you can access a recording at a later time on CFA Connect. These sessions will be run as a pilot for the next six months after which we will assess their success. Mick and I look forward to hearing from as many of you as possible over the coming months.

Crew Protection Retrofit Program:

The Crew Protection Retrofit Program is gaining momentum through CFA's workshops. More than 200 tankers have already been fitted out with this new system. If your Brigade tanker has not been modified yet, then it will be scheduled over the next 18 months. Given our "Safety First" philosophy, this is a very important project for the CFA. I hope you never have to use these new safety and survival features, but I am confident, as a last line of defence, it will provide you with the best proven way to survive a burnover. During the installation process, in a few locations, concern has been expressed with the fit-up of the cabin curtains and in particular the impact of the stowed front windscreen curtain on the visibility for some drivers. To address these concerns, CFA has sought independent verification from a Licensed Victorian Automotive Engineer. This advice confirms that when correctly stowed these curtains do not infringe the legal requirements regarding the windscreen vision. If Brigades continue to be concerned, and to provide an extra level of comfort, our DMO workshops have additional strapping that can be readily fitted if needed. For fitment, please contact them directly via your standard local District arrangements.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015