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Pat O'Brien, Loddon Mallee Regional Director on leadership
Our primary purpose in Loddon Mallee region is to create and deploy an effective operational capability focused on preventing and suppressing fire, in order to achieve our CFA objective of minimising loss of life and property.
All our volunteer and staff efforts go to creating and maintaining viable volunteer and integrated fire brigades, and creating a safe, capable and resilient community. Viability refers to the right number of people with the right knowledge, skills and attributes, equipment and infrastructure, actually achieving desired community outcomes.
Viability also implies an obligation to provide support to CFA members and their families. Our CIS peers and chaplains provide this welfare support through drought and floods. Capable and resilient communities are indispensable partners in the management of risk. Our experience during drought and floods has emphasised the importance of close links between CFA brigades and their communities.
Our philosophy is that good leadership and good teamwork are critical to everything we do. We believe that every CFA member, whether holding a formal leadership position or not, can be a leader.
That leadership can be exercised simply by providing the right example to others. In some critical situations, good leadership can be demonstrated by asking the right question at the right time; by pointing out what no one else is prepared to acknowledge, or by taking action when all others are overcome by the moment. Any team member should be able to show this leadership and we seek to build this capability in all members.
We believe that this approach to developing leadership capability is entirely consistent with the doctrine of Mission Command, founded as it is on mutual trust, initiative, a positive culture and a common objective or purpose. Good teams respect every member's contribution and value difference.
Our leadership and teamwork behaviours are founded on the Fire Star Virtues. For 16 years we've invested time and effort to provide teamwork and leadership skills to our volunteers and staff. We've seen the benefits of this approach prior to and throughout February 2009, during the millennium drought and during the 2010, 2011 and 2012 floods.