News & Media

Keeping your brigade sustainable

By: Duncan Russell

Category: Other

  12.28 PM 4 June, 2014


Location: General

Views: 2064

Imagine your brigade in 10, 20 or 30 years from now. Will it look like it does today? Will people still volunteer in the same way as they do today? Will we fight fires in the same way?

By Ali Martin

Communities are changing, the structure of our brigades is changing and the way people want to volunteer is changing. To ensure our brigades remain sustainable and volunteering continues to grow, many brigades are opening their minds to new and innovative ways of doing things.

The Brigade Sustainability Pilot

With the launch of the new Brigade Sustainability Pilot, there has been much discussion about the key areas that impact brigade viability and how the planning we do today affects a brigade’s viability in the future. We tend to look at brigade viability through an operational lens using tools such as the Section 29, but we know it’s a lot more than that.

Over the years, many tools have been developed by regions, districts and brigades, such as brigade health checks, to help us look deeper to identify the key areas that affect a brigade’s viability.

One way of thinking about a brigade's viability, is in terms of these seven key elements:

Infrastructure and equipment, leadership and management, community, training, finance and administration, people and capacity to deliver. 

Factors affecting brigade viability

Our brigades are very diverse and the external societal trends impacting on them (such as community growth or decline, economic or community risks) can be vastly different.

This means that the focus to strengthen brigade sustainability will vary from brigade to brigade.

Recently, a brigade recognised it had an issue with daytime response – a common problem for many brigades – and the popular solution is to recruit new members. However, a closer look at this issue revealed that there were more than 80 current brigade members and the best solution was to launch a campaign to re-engage existing members.

“Predicting where we’ll be and what our communities will look like in the next decade is a complex challenge,” said Deputy Chief Officer Steve Warrington.

“This is why we see the Brigade Sustainability Pilot as an important and exciting project. It’s all about working together to seek solutions to help us plan and prepare to face these challenges head on."

Read more about brigade sustainability on p16 of the latest issue of Brigade magazine.

Last Updated: 11 June 2014