News & Media

Regional visits begin

By: Michael Wootten

  4.35 PM 23 July, 2015

Views: 1273

As part of a commitment made to CFA members, I’ve begun visiting each CFA region to discuss the Interim report from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Fiskville.

First up were trips to the South West and West regions.

I will be heading to North West region later this week, with visits being organised to the West and South East over coming weeks.

It’s already proven a great opportunity to meet with members and discuss our response to the report, as well as answer questions, and hear frank and open feedback about the organisation, Fiskville and other topics.

One topic of conversation has been the health services available to CFA members. The safety of our members is our number one priority so I thought it was timely to outline the services we have in place to support our members.

We have a range of health programs and information in place to support our firefighters and members, and these can be found on the intranet under “Health & Welfare”.

We are active in monitoring the health of firefighters through the popular Healthwatch initiative for volunteers, and the Healthy for Life program for career firefighters.

Our members’ mental health is extremely important, and more information can be found on the intranet, including our HeadsUp on-line tool.

CFA has Medical Officers who can provide assistance such as where an individual may have been exposed to hazardous materials or biological substances during an incident, or are showing symptoms that might suggest exposure. In these cases, please arrange an appointment through your District Headquarters.  For urgent medical advice as a result of an incident, contact can be made via the regional duty officer.

There is also support in place for anyone who contracts cancer as a result of their work for CFA. The Firefighter Advisory Service can be contacted on 1800 060 729.

In regards to Fiskville, those identified at a high or medium risk of exposure from their time at the Training College can take part in a five year health surveillance program. So far, two thirds of those eligible have joined the program, which includes:

  • full medical history review
  • physical examination
  • blood tests
  • assessment of cardiac and diabetes risk factors, renal function and liver function.

The low risk group can also receive an initial health check and blood test. If the consulting doctor deems it necessary, those members can join the five year health surveillance program as well.

Unfortunately a recent media article has made some inaccurate claims about the Fiskville health study. I want to emphasise that volunteers were not ignored in the survey that identified those at risk. The Monash University report’s authors placed most of our volunteers in the low risk category because of their limited time at Fiskville.   All CFA members are able to access health services.

If you have any questions or issues regarding your health or wellbeing, I’d encourage you to contact your Operations Officer/line manager.

Last Updated: 10 December 2015