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Member support just a phone call away
When fires raged in New South Wales in October, CFA members gladly volunteered to go north and lend a hand. We can say that the fire season is well and truly under way but, with members paged at all hours of the day and night 12 months a year, the ‘fire season' is a misleading term. In July alone, brigades attended 191 house fires.
Being a CFA member can be tough, and the 2009 fires highlighted both the dangers and the aftershocks that sometimes go hand-in-hand with emergency response.
While emergency response is a round-the clock, year-round commitment you have made to your communities, the free and confidential CFA member assistance program is also available 24 hours a day.
The program has been upgraded to provide a more tailored service for members and their immediate families. Closer links with other CFA support services such as peer and chaplaincy support and compensation programs, as well as short-term counselling support across Victoria, make it easier for members and their families to access the support they need.
This service now has a new phone number: 1300 795 711. This is a number for every CFA member to have on their fridge and saved in their phone.
Comprehensive help and support is just a phone call away.
Presentations of the National Emergency Medal are now being made around the state to some 4500 CFA members. These medals acknowledge the extraordinary service to others of both frontline firefighters and the tireless workers in incident management and behind-the-scenes support.
CFA's pride rests in the professionalism of our brigades and the skill and dedication of our members to the protection of lives and property. This is never so obvious as during a major emergency when members' commitment to both their local area and the wider community - be it in Victoria or interstate - is thrown into sharp relief.
The medal ceremonies have been attended by significant government representatives who give their thanks on behalf of a grateful Victoria. Each event has been marked by that characteristic CFA mix of gravity and informality. Members in uniform step up to receive their medal in front of their family members and their brigade; a stirring moment for all those who gave so much time and effort and expertise to the firefight.
Finally, I would like to pay tribute to former Operations Officer Peter Brereton who lost his life in a light plane crash while working in support of the New South Wales firefight. In almost 40 years with CFA including a stint as the Officer in Charge of Shepparton Fire Brigade, Peter dedicated his considerable energy and enthusiasm to the brigades and members of Hume Region. He was much admired and appreciated and his untimely death is being keenly felt throughout CFA.