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New Board members and lead up to summer
Don Robertson is a long-time member of Strathkellar brigade in District 5 and served as president of the Victorian Rural Fire Brigades Association.
Paul Denham joined Picola brigade at the age of 16 before moving to Barmah brigade then Boronia brigade, where he is a life member. He is currently a VFBV State Councillor for District 13.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson reported to the Board that grassland curing is nearly 100 per cent in the northwest of the State and well advanced in the west, north and north central. CFA messaging and readiness/response strategies have been modified.
Pre-season briefings, including Exercise Belenus, have been completed and served their purpose as opportunities to test processes and iron out issues. There is more work being done on updating procedures for establishing Divisional Command Points, and the escalation and transfer of control as an incident develops.
The Chief Officer detailed the development of information and intelligence flows in the State Control Centre (SCC). This includes the use of social media such as Twitter and Facebook for information, warnings and communicating with the public during incidents.
Along with DSE and the SCC manager, the Chief Officer has proposed a Strategic Planning and Information cell within the SCC. This cell will be exercised throughout December in a targeted shake down of the SCC information management systems.
Delivery of Fire Ready Victoria (FRV) has begun with very high attendance in some areas, such as Heathcote, but low attendance in others. The Department of Human Services (Office of Housing) and Australian Red Cross are involved in the delivery of joint FRV sessions across the State.
CFA has exceeded its target for delivery of Township Protection Plans (TPPs) this year with 196 new TPPs published. A mail-out has begun and will result in 400,000 people in high-risk areas receiving a TPP and other bushfire information this fire season.
Chief Executive Officer Mick Bourke reported on advances in the Creating Our Future Together strategy, with the former directorates of Community Safety and Operations joining forces to form the Fire and Emergency Management team.
The CEO outlined the proposed new organisational structure. The Board endorsed it in principle and advised the CEO to finalise his consultations. Subject to that, he was advised to continue implementation.
Also this month the Board approved the awarding of a Special Recognition Award to Mt Taylor Fire Brigade for their enduring support to fire-affected communities and others in need. This award, recommended by the Chief Officer, is the first of its kind.