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On the Land launches, burn over drills, a discussion of courage
Last week saw the launch of a revised "On The Land" CFA booklet with guidelines on agricultural fire management. Originally inspired by Linda Brownstein (Hume region), this update has taken on board many suggestions on content and layout from senior CFA members, farmers and landowners. Lisa Keedle (Comm Safety), Kevin Sleep (Loddon Mallee), Sharon Linke (Barwon South West), Jenny McGennisken (Grampians) and Alex Caughey (Hume) have produced a valuable reference that we commend to farmers, contractors, hobby farmers and anyone who lives in rural areas. The booklet covers topics such as bush and grassfire planning, fuel breaks, burning off, machinery, vehicles and equipment, electric fencing, managing hay, access for fire vehicles and recovering after the fire has passed. Thanks to everyone who has contributed to this great effort.
Towards An Annual "Burn-over Drill"?:
Recently I wrote to every District Planning Committee Chair proposing that CFA consider an annual bushfire "burn-over drill". The drill could entail members donning their wildfire personal protective clothing and then undertaking the bushfire burn-over drill in the vehicle that they are most likely to be crewing during the fire season. It is proposed that brigades would self assess competence at the drill, which could be conducted on an annual or a biannual basis. Feedback so far has been positive. I am aware that many CFA brigades already conduct an annual burn-over drill - it is consistent with our commitment to "Safety First". This proposal would see that initiative being extended to every CFA member who attends the fireground.
Feedback From Mallee Field Days:
Last week Loddon Mallee Region (LMR) Regional Manager Pat O'Brien, Operations Manager Bill Johnston and I attended the Mallee Field Days at Speed. Congratulations to the LMR team for their commitment to the busy CFA stand. The constant stream of CFA members chatted about:-
- The impact that annual first aid CPR updates are having on rural CFA members;
- The cost and design of new rural fire stations;
- The need to get farmer firefighters to do the annual burn-over drill;
- Concerns about windfarms (in central Victoria);
- Comments on the concept tanker:
- The need for a tanker to be designed specifically for Mallee sand country fires;
- Comments about the new total Fire Ban District boundary.
Courage is facing a danger, controversy or uncertainty without fear or shrinking. Sometimes the ultimate courage is associated with the ultimate sacrifice - of one's life or one's freedom. In a personal sense, courage is about overcoming self doubt and having the confidence to challenge your personal capacities. Margaret Somerville links courage to restraint. That is, one can have courage to do something, but one can also have the courage not to do something. Thus, people who make even small sacrifices also exhibit courage. Courage in a crisis, or in a situation of peril, is often associated with an act that puts the safety and welfare of others before that of your own. Sacrifice and courage are often associated with discipline - especially self-discipline. Thus an athlete, striving to better their personal best, displays courage and this requires determination and self discipline. Martin Luther King reflected on courage when he said that "The ultimate measure of a man (woman) is not where he (she) stands in moments of comfort, but where he (she) stands in times of challenge and controversy". Courage over time may be better described as determination - "a dogged never say die" attitude. Courage is driven by hope.
Quote of the week:
"‘Know thyself' are two words of profound wisdom. Yet in our existing system, though self-knowledge cannot be denied, self expression largely is, because it so very frequently clashes with regulations. It is not recognised that the object of regulations and rules is to produce order in the fighting machine, and not to strangle the mind of the men and women who control it."
- Maj Gen J.F.C. Fuller