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OM's Update - March 2015
It appears that the end may be in sight to what has been an interesting summer season for us. Our early fire conditions and activity kept us busy right up until early into the new year. However, more favourable conditions and, in some cases, reasonable rainfall has seen conditions become much more sedate than at the same time last year.
Having said that, things are still relatively dry and the fires that we have had still require a large amount of recovery work to ensure landholders can get back to a level of normality as quickly as possible.
As always, we will be conducting reviews of our operations at a district level in order to identify areas of continuous improvement. We again encourage all brigades and groups to conduct post season After Action Reviews in order to capture general feedback on how we can better support our brigades and groups in their preparedness and response activities for next summer.
We also encourage feedback on the use of aircraft this year, as the pre-determined dispatch arrangements have again proved very successful. We are always looking at ways to further improve our response effectiveness, whether it be with our ground or air resources.
A number of items have recently been raised in the form of Safety Alerts and Operations Bulletins, which are all very important for our members to understand to ensure we all work to maintain CFA's safety-first culture:
- Further investigation is being undertaken regarding our current wildfire PPC garments but, as stated in the recent Safety Alert, there are a number of precautions that should be applied when storing, laundering and handling our current garments. Further information will be provided once made available.
- There has been no further advice on the use of pumping pits across CFA, so at this stage they remain off limits to all our members until we are provided with advice to say otherwise.
- Recent events have again raised the importance of monitoring for and managing heat related illness within our members while responding to emergency incidents. It is important for us all to be aware of the various ways in which heat can affect us, which may not only apply during the warmer months but may be just as relevant in the middle of winter when conducting an internal fire fight with structural PPC or splash/gas suit activities at a hazmat event – crew welfare must be monitored at all times and be our number one priority.
- We have recently requested our brigades to provide a snapshot of their endorsed driver capability across the district. This is to try and assist with identifying current deficiencies and supporting the future planning of brigades to try and build further capability in these areas. You all know your people and those who currently respond your primary appliances, so we encourage you to provide the information to us asap so we can further support our brigades in applying an appropriate process to ensure consistency across the state.
- Our catchment teams are busy working with brigades to ensure that brigade recruitment plans are being developed in order to assist with more effective and sustainable recruiting at a local level. As this process has been endorsed by both the District 2 DPC and VFBV District Council, it is encouraged that all brigades will have completed their recruitment plans by the end of this year’s Section 29 inspections. This will ensure brigades are aware of where they need to focus their efforts to ensure they can further develop and maintain their effectiveness and service delivery capability.
District 2 Operations Manager