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As the Board meetings move around the state every couple of months, the preceding Sunday night gatherings with senior staff and volunteers are a particular highlight. Wodonga played host in early September and District 24 invited captains, group officers, staff and VFBV representatives to discuss their concerns. Thanks to all members who took the time to attend and give us a lively update on local issues.
It was also a privilege to see Chief Officer Euan Ferguson award a Commendation for Courage to Senior Station Officer Sean Crosthwaite for actions taken when he was stationed in District 8. The commendation praised SSO Crosthwaite's calm and compassionate approach to an agitated resident at a property fire. Backed up by excellent teamwork, he defused a highly volatile situation and prevented further injury to a vulnerable community member.
In a room full of the Board and very experienced members, the award generated a strong feeling of reflected pride. Congratulations Sean.
I have now been appointed CFA Board Chairperson and look forward to the excellent support of John Peberdy as Deputy Chair. The September meeting was also the first outing for new Board member Michael Freshwater. Michael is a former East Gippsland mayor and is proud to be a fifth generation East Gippslander. He comes with a strong CFA background including stints as captain and first lieutenant at Lindenow brigade and deputy group officer of the Bairnsdale/Mitchell Group. Welcome Michael.
Also welcomed at the Board meeting was the registration of CFA's newest brigade. Bellbrae has operated as a satellite of Torquay brigade but is now a brigade in its own right with a new two-bay station in a rapidly-expanding area. This is an excellent result for both the community and the Coastal Group. The strength of the new brigade is a credit to Torquay brigade which amicably negotiated the transfer of vehicles and sundry items.
The Board briefly discussed the Ernst and Young review recently announced by the state government. The review will look at the way CFA headquarters does business with relevant government departments and help us to identify any opportunities for improvement. The four focus areas are governance; the structure of CFA's finance function which will be a useful input into Creating Our Future Together; financial reporting; and budgeting and forecasting.
CEO Mick Bourke gave the Board an update on his membership of the Victorian Information Network for Emergencies program control board. VINE is an ambitious technological platform working towards the ideal of a common operating picture that will give decision makers a strategic overview of incidents. The community resilience module, for example, will aim to deliver a new single emergency management incident page and a new phone app.
This information was complemented by the Chief Officer's update on the Common Doctrine project that aims to underpin emergency services interoperability with a common language and approach. Nine areas have been chosen to kick off the project: common capstone; emergency response driving; swift water rescue; hazardous trees; red flag warnings; warnings and advice; evacuation; readiness arrangements; and dynamic risk assessment.