News & Media

Jamie Mackenzie - AFSM

  • Jamie Mackenzie (right) at the Angelsea Golf Day
  • Jamie Mackenzie AFSM
  • Jamie Mackenzie (far right) with the Linron Staff Ride organising team

By: CFA Media

Category: Honours & Awards, People

  12.46 PM 23 January, 2015

Location: District 7 News, General

Views: 3058

CFA training instructor Jamie MacKenzie describes the experience of receiving an Australian Fire Service Medal as “humbling”. 

The Australia Day honour is the culmination of Jamie’s work over a number of years on all kinds of projects – some big, some small – but all fuelled by a passion for training, and all contributing to a leap in the way fire services develop leaders.

“I really am humbled,” Jamie said. “I am very fortunate to have worked with amazing people on some amazing projects. I’m also fortunate with the people who have backed me; people who have just ‘got it’ and understood the vision.”

Jamie has played an integral role in developing training materials and resources that go beyond the merely technical to take into account human factors. In particular, how people operate, how decisions are made under pressure and why mistakes are made.  

“We have always had good programs that teach people how to put out a fire but it’s about drilling down to the next level,” he said.

When asked about a highlight from his career, Jamie nominated the Linton Staff Ride, an experiential training project which (in real time) simulated events of the 1998 bushfire in which five firefighters tragically lost their lives.

“The Linton Ride was about putting people in the shoes of key decision-makers and providing them with only the information that was available at the time,” he said.

“It was a real challenge, but having been through that process and particularly involving families affected by the fire, it was one of the most rewarding things I’ve done.”

Jamie is also keen to point out that the work he does with local brigades is just as important as some of the higher-profile projects. For example, helping brigades pinpoint their values and focus on how they communicate. It’s also looking at what to do when things don’t go so well and how members can learn from the past without getting into finger-pointing.  

Across the board, it's now standard practice for brigades to undertake after-action reviews and record observations for future case studies.

One of the courses which has struck a real chord among CFA volunteers over the last decade is Fireline Leadership. Jamie was instrumental in bringing the course to Victoria and modifying it for our emergency services. Fireline is now in use in five Australian states. 

Jamie said there are "about a million" different ways for organisations like CFA to develop leaders, but it was a matter of choosing one path and sticking to it.

“All organisations talk up leadership, but it is about making it happen,” he said. 

Jamie McKenzie was nominated for the AFSM for his ‘exceptional contribution to lifting the profile of leadership training in the emergency services through the creation of specific training courses linked to operational roles. He is one of a small group of personnel who constitute the Near Miss Operational Team and works for CFA’s Operational Training and Volunteerism department.

Last Updated: 28 January 2015