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Greg builds fire safety awareness
From mentor, safety campaigner, firefighter to leader, Greg Kennedy has worn many CFA hats.
Today (June 13), Greg accepts an Australian Fire Service Medal as part of the 2016 Queen’s Birthday Honours, for his 32 years’ dedication to protecting his community as a South Warrandyte Brigade volunteer member.
Greg is well respected and admired by both his community and fellow members for his outstanding leadership, practical expertise and focus on the welfare of the greater Warrandyte area.
Greg strongly believes in community involvement when it comes to fire safety education. He has led a range of initiatives, most notably the ‘Be Ready Warrandyte’ campaign launched in 2011. Drawing on his broad experiences, including during Ash Wednesday in 1983 and Black Saturday in 2009, Greg was instrumental in creating a set of essential tips and tricks to better prepare the area for bushfires.
“Black Saturday was really close to home for our community and we realised how unprepared we were to manage such a major incident,” Greg said.
“While it’s impossible to fully prepare for fire of that magnitude, Be Ready Warrandyte has succeeded in building awareness and knowledge about fire preparedness among the community.”
Greg’s collaborative approach with other agencies and the community to develop and distribute fire safety messaging has been adopted and adapted for use in other Victorian regions.
He has designed innovative programs for recruitment, training and development of members, drawing on his extensive experience.
“The whole spectrum of CFA has changed since I first joined in 1981,” he says.
“Key improvements include a stronger focus on community fire safety education; enhanced training of our firefighters; and technological changes, which help our firefighters work safer and more efficiently when protecting our communities.”
Greg’s two sons, Mark and Andrew, have followed in his footsteps in joining the CFA. Mark is the Operations Manager of District 8 and Andrew is the Lieutenant of the Boronia Fire Brigade.
The Kennedys have established strong community ties through their involvement with the CFA, so Mark and Andrew’s career moves were natural progressions.
“We grew up with the CFA so it made sense to become official members,” Mark says.
“We’re really proud of dad for receiving this medal because it recognises all of his hard work to protect our community.”