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Reflections from February's Board meeting - Groups, Mission Command, Reviews...
At its February meeting the Board encouraged the Chief Officer to review the role of Groups. The review is a significant one for CFA as it could lead to a more central role for Groups in the chain of command.
In recent times we've seen a significant focus on Level 3 incident management, while strong local command and control means that fires are well managed and dealt with before they turn into Level 3 incidents. The review of Groups would look at re-enforcing and strengthening local incident command and control, consistent with the philosophy of mission command.
The Board has supported the Chief Officer's emphasis on mission command philosophy, which is about empowering people to make decisions at a local level in line with the intent of those most senior in the organisation.
I'm also pleased to report that on behalf of the CFA Board and along with the President of VFBV we joined the Premier Ted Baillieu and the Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan in re-signing and reaffirming the commitment to the Volunteer Charter. The signing took place at the Upper Ferntree Gully brigade and coincided with the handing over of the keys to new vehicles to service this area.
The Government will amend the Country Fire Authority Act (1958) to highlight that the organisation is first and foremost volunteer-based and that the Volunteer Charter is recognised in the Act. CFA is committed to consult under the Charter on any matter where it might reasonably be expected to affect volunteers. Management will put in place an approach that will ensure that these matters are an integral part of CFA decision making.Also at the February Board meeting the CEO reported that the Rural Fire Station Program is on target to deliver 60 projects by the end of June 2011 and construction of the new District Mechanical Workshop at Seymour is scheduled to commence in May. During January the Capital Works Program delivered three light pumpers and two heavy pumpers. Additionally, members will be pleased to hear that we have delivered more than 12,000 structural ensembles personal protection outfits.
The Chief Officer informed the Board of his intention to conduct a review concerning the impact of wind farms in bushfire safety. This review will examine the matter against the current CFA Emergency Management Guidelines. Additionally it will examine current restrictions concerning wind farms during the fire danger period and their operation on Total Fire Ban and Code Red Days.
The Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley also spent time with the Board discussing his current challenges and opportunities including the development of state-wide competency standards for Incident Management Teams, removing barriers affecting interoperability and utilising common technology, systems and processes across the fire services. We hope to see the Commissioner at more Board meetings in the future.