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Season's Greetings to all members
The ELT and the Chair and Board Members of CFA would like to thank every member for their contribution to CFA and their communities through 2014.
As this year comes to a close, we want to remind all of you to take care of yourselves and those you hold dear over the festive period ahead and throughout the summer as you go about your work. CFA's mission means every firefighter returns home safely after every incident, and we want you all to return to your families and loved ones safe and well this season.
As usual it’s been a very busy year for CFA and we are preparing for another challenging season ahead. This summer is predicted to be a potentially major fire season for almost all of Victoria. We’re well prepared and we’re sure you’re ready to do your very best to protect lives and property.
We’d like to reinforce the importance of everyone at CFA working in unity to achieve our mission. Throughout the year, we’ve developed our relationships with emergency services agencies across government, industry and the community. This has already proved worthwhile as we’ve seen in the early start to the season. Thank you to our partner agencies. We will continue to work together throughout the summer fire season.
As part of our preparations, we looked at and will continue to improve the way we use volunteers on strike teams. It will help us to better understand our volunteer capacity at any given time. We are also encouraging local leadership and decision making to help us focus on our mission.
We also want to take this opportunity to reflect on the past 12 months and acknowledge your efforts and achievements.
Our members have provided outstanding service at fires and incidents across the state and assisted our colleagues in Canada. Earlier this year we saw many challenging long-running fires, including the 45-day battle to bring the Hazelwood Mine fire under control.
It was also a significant year of change at CFA. We moved from eight to five regions and we welcomed five new Assistant Chief Officers to their roles. We acknowledge the change process has been challenging but this year we have made good progress to develop organisational structures that will better support our front-line. These changes will also ensure CFA is best positioned to meet the needs of our communities and our evolving emergency management sector.
This year has also seen many new initiatives to better support our front-line volunteers, including the Brigade Sustainability pilot and the Volunteer Support Program. We have also been asking for your views on the draft Volunteerism Strategy to ensure CFA continues to encourage and value the contribution of volunteers.
In other work, we have developed a range of services to better support the wellbeing of our people. And our members have also put in tremendous work to inform and educate their communities ahead of the upcoming fire season.
In 2014 we also saw upgrades to five training centres, the opening of VEMTC at Craigieburn and our portable training props put into action. This will give our people access to better practical training for many years to come.
Again, we want to thank all of you for your hard work in 2014 and the dedication you show CFA. You should be very proud of your efforts and we want to thank you for making CFA what it is today.
All the best to you and your families this festive season and in 2015.
Mick Bourke Euan Ferguson
CEO Chief Officer