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November Board meeting wrap up
The Board held the last of its regional Board meetings for 2012 in Horsham in November. This gave the Board the opportunity to listen to the concerns of our volunteers and staff in the region in relation to BASOs and pagers/radios. These matters are familiar to the Board, and management is continuing to work through to an appropriate outcome.
Regional Director Don Kelly gave a presentation on local matters such as the recent purchase of property affecting the brigades in the Telopea Downs area, and support to brigades around Warracknabeal. I would like to extend the thanks of the Board to the regional officers and, particularly, Horsham Fire Brigade for their hospitality.
The draft strategic directions statement presented to the Board meeting in November informs the development of the next CFA plan to 2016. The statement is being finalised in conjunction with emergency sector reform which is to be released by the end of the year. The overall goal of both the statement and the plan will be to increase the community's sense of wellbeing and safety by reducing the incidence and impact of fire and other emergencies. At CFA, we know that viable brigades and volunteers make a powerful contribution to more resilient communities.
CEO Mick Bourke was back from a well-deserved holiday and updated the Board on progress within Fleet Services where a production line of vehicles is soon to be in service: the crew protection retrofits are ahead of schedule; two heavy mobile command vehicles are due for delivery, as are the first medium tankers and two hazmat vehicles; all heavy pumpers will be delivered on schedule by June 2013; and the first of six Field Operations Vehicles is being delivered two months early.
The Board was briefed on progress in the rural fire stations program with 39 projects now at town planning submission stage. Construction of Anglesea, Mortlake and Marlo are on schedule while Ocean Grove is on track for completion in February 2013.
Operational Training and Volunteerism has begun a review of CFA youth programs, meeting the Department of Education and the Catholic Education's office to discuss VCAL and the Advance program.
A briefing was provided on the launch of the new CFA website designed on the back of extensive community consultation. The site places current warnings front and centre - ease of navigation is vital so our communities can easily access tailored and timely messages.
There was positive news on the Youth Firesetters' Behaviour Change program developed in partnership with the Department of Human Services. The referral pathway and treatments have been widely praised by industry professionals, AFAC and the Fire Services Commissioner.
During the last month, CEO Mick Bourke was appointed as a member of the AFAC Board with Victoria SES CEO Mary Barry also a recent re-appointment.
Chief Officer Euan Ferguson reported on fire season preparation with drying north of the divide, in particular, faster than it has been for several years.
Fire agencies are heading into the season with 65 accredited Level 3 Incident Controllers. Euan also informed the Board that the Fire Services Commissioner will conduct a review of the October Loch Sport fire. Meanwhile, District 2 is trialling dispatch of firefighting aircraft by pager at the same time as local brigades are notified.
Acting DCO Alan Ellis will present his discussion paper on the role of the group to all regional controllers in December. His review proposes a strengthening of local command and control including redefining the role of the group. Full details of his findings will be broadcast through CFA and VFBV channels.