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Take care of yourselves and take care of each other
There is much activity in CFA at the moment. Set against the ongoing daily demands of delivering fire and emergency services, there is an escalating tempo in our bushfire education and community liaison teams. Parts of the state are drying. Preparations for the fire season are in full swing with pre-season briefings, and multi-agency pre-fire season exercises. Revised "Joint SOP's" have been approved, and key community bushfire safety policies have recently been endorsed. CFA is also briefing members about future options for emergency management. We are adopting our business plan to incorporate the Fire Services Commissioner's 3 year rolling reform plan. Amongst all this activity it is important to keep a sustainable pace. As we rearrange our priorities ensure that you set aside time to take care of yourself and for your family. The Dalai Lama says we should all take 30 minutes a day to be with ourselves. This is good advice. As you get around your work colleagues, keep an eye out for their welfare. We all work in teams and occasionally we get stressed and tired and emotional. Sometimes it takes a member of your team to remind you to slow down, to ease off, or to go home early today. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other and remember to be nice to those around you.
CFA - A Hub For The Community:
As I travel many parts of the state I see many examples where the CFA forms a nucleus for people living in a locality. Quite literally, the CFA becomes the "hub" of the community. Recently I had the absolute pleasure of visiting the Crossroads CFA brigade (south east of Ararat). Crossroads used to be a "tin shed" on the side of the road. Recently the Brigade, with assistance from Regional Manager Don Kelly was able to secure a Dept Planning & Community Development grant to build a multi-purpose room adjoining the "tin shed". What I witnessed when I visited was a welcoming, vibrant and proud community who use the multi-purpose room almost daily for meetings of playgroup, CFA meetings, Farmer's Federation and the (locally renowned) Christmas Party. It was such a pleasure seeing the vital role that CFA and our members play in the broader community.
Grassfire Tanker Tactics:
In 2004, CFA produced a valuable DVD on "Grassfire Tanker Tactics". The intent was to replace the ageing "Water is the Weapon" filmed in the 1970's in the Westmere Group. Given the amount of grass around at this time of the year, I commend the DVD to you. The DVD was widely distributed when it was produced. Matters covered in the DVD include: methods of grassfire attack; tanker tactics; how to deal with timbered roadsides and burning trees; use of Class A foam; mopping up; water supplies and aerial support. It is a great resource for a brigade training evening. The video is available to view on YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F33Jun33-Cg
DSE Fire Management Case Study:
The Department of Sustainability and Environment is hosting a breakfast event on Monday 17 October 2011 titled: Emergency Management "Future Bushfire Management - A Case Study from the Otway - Surf Coast". The breakfast is hosted by DSE and is being held at the Department of Justice, Level 27, 121 Exhibition Street, Melbourne.
Multi-Agency Mapping Training:
CFA's Geographic Information Systems Manager, Mark Garvey advises that training for Mapping Officers commenced last week. Participants were drawn from CFA, DSE, Parks Victoria, MFB & Melbourne Water, with instructors from DSE Fire, CFA and State Aircraft Unit. Training included: Fireweb/FireMap: joint Agency networked Fire Mapping system available in all CFA/DSE/Parks Vic Offices; EIMS Mapper: CFA's stand alone field mapping software; ArcGIS: for use in the big job where standard map products are not available; GPS: getting GPS data into the shared fire information databases; Linescan: how to use and interpret linescan imagery; and how the State Coordination centre will work this season, including discussions around the single email system. A great example of a single mission focus by our multi-agency fire & emergency management partners.
"A room without books is like a body without a soul." - Cicero