News & Media

On the road...

By: Euan Ferguson

  11.15 AM 20 June, 2011

Views: 4138

It’s been a while since my last communication. In the last 3 weeks we’ve visited CFA activities and volunteers and staff at Casterton, Nelson, Boort, Cowwarr, Swan Hill, Dandenong, Arthur’s Creek, Fiskville, Phillip Island, Bemm river, Bruthen, Bairnsdale, Omeo, Dinner Plain and Shepparton. As Chief, I want to lead by example, reinforcing the importance of our senior leadership getting out and about. CFA is in a period of change, both internally and in our relationships with other agencies in the sector. Visible active leadership is an essential part of how we run CFA.


Good checklists are a great aide to decision making. When carefully considered (in the cool of the moment) we can capture key actions and considerations that may escape us in “the heat of the action”. For some years, CFA has published, in one form or another, a set of operations checklists. Matt Fraser, from Operations, has recently sought feedback (using an on-line survey) on the 4th (2010) edition of the Operations Checklists. Matt reports that of the 78 CFA member responses:

  • 70% had a copy of the Operations Checklists.
  • 61% said operational members should have a copy of the checklists.
  • 64% said they used the checklists at fires/incidents.
  • 92% said the content is useful / relevant.
  • 50% said that the content of the current checklists was ‘just right’.
  • 84% said they liked the smaller pocketbook version as well as the larger vehicle manual.
  • 47% rated the value of the checklists as ‘very good’.
  • 42% rated the content of the checklists as ‘very good’.
  • 33% rated the format of the checklists as’ very good’,
  • 28% rated the useability of the checklists as ‘very good’.

The feedback will result in changes to the next edition of checklists later in 2011. Already, it is planned to have a notebook and folder with both pocket format and A5 glovebox format checklists.

Vehicle Markings:

As a result of a number of recent accidents, CFA is working on options for more distinctive and visible vehicle markings. As I move around, I observe many different ways of marking CFA vehicles. A consistent style of markings will help promote CFA in a professional manner. It is hoped that CFA will move to adopting standard options to improve the “look” and safety of our vehicles.

 Feedback From EMA Volunteer Leadership Program:

Andrew Norman from District 10 recently wrote to me about his attendance at a Volunteer Leadership Program convened by EMA at Mount Macedon. Andrew recommends the course to all volunteers in leadership roles. He says it is a course aimed at aspiring and developing leaders. Andrew says that the same themes kept on cropping up as issues: effective leadership and leadership styles; managing and influencing change; recruitment and retention; training; effective communication; conflict resolution; and succession planning. Andrew says that so many of the problems that people spoke about at the course could have been resolved by people adopting a more appropriate approach and chatting about the issues before they escalated. “What do I mean by a more appropriate approach? There are ways you can deliver a message to be effective for you, and there a ways you can deliver a message to be effective for others. So many times, we communicate in a way that we understand, not realising that our receiver might misunderstand the message. (This goes back to leadership styles, and being able to modify yours to suit the situation). Food for thought….

Falling Trees:

Many will recall the brochure we sent giving details of the dangers from falling trees. Recently two Stawell volunteers were injured (fortunately not too seriously) from a falling limb. At the time, they were mopping up after a small grass fire. A timely reminder of the dangers of burning trees.

Quote of the week:

“The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare.”

- Juma Ikanga

Last Updated: 10 December 2015