News & Media

CFA’s elite flying squad in action

  • Gary Jones, Wendy Cook and Lieutenant Burren introduce the smoke.
  • Community Education Group volunteer Mary Marks.
  • Mary Marks, Orlena Charleston and Lieutenant Burren help the kids through the Smoke House.
  • Wendy Cook, School Captains Elizabeth Black and Jack Todd and Principal Carolyn Tavener with a CFA sign presented to the school.

By: Len McDonnell

Category: Community Safety

  3.03 PM 3 March, 2016

Location: District 2 News, General

Views: 1478

CFA has a little-known group of firefighters who save more lives and protect more property than any brigade.

These are the prime responders who go in before the 'first responders' which often results in the first responders not being needed.

They are the community engagement teams – the firefighters who prevent the fires from happening and build up the community’s capacity to respond when they do occur.

Although it's hard to quantify the positive impact they have – fires prevented will never make it into the news media – CFA is in no doubt that these forces are the most effective at saving lives.

As CFA Deputy Chief Officer Steve Warrington explains better than anyone, improving community engagement will help CFA save more lives, and it is becoming even more important as climate-related extreme events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity in the future.

CFA delivers one of Victoria’s largest community education and safety programs including primary, secondary, and adult education in home and bushfire safety.

District 2 has an elite flying squad of these prime responders that has been deploying to great effect for many years at shows, carnivals, schools, open days and other community gatherings. It’s called the North West Region Community Education Group.

On 3 March, a squad of these crack volunteer firefighters went into action at Malmsbury Primary School to deliver Fire Safe Kids messages with assistance from Malmsbury Fire Brigade.

The squad – Wendy Cook, Mary Marks, Gary Jones and Orlena Charleston – presented safety messages to all classes in the school assisted by Len McDonnell and Lieutenant Darren Burren from Malmsbury brigade. They then guided the children through the Community Education Group’s mobile smoke house to help show how to escape a house fire.

“I was really impressed by the way the Community Education Group operated,” said Darren. “We have had them come to Malmsbury a few times this fire season. They are a great asset for our region.”

Darren added that he was very surprised by the level of knowledge and fire awareness among the children at the Malmsbury school.

“It’s really encouraging to see fire safety messages getting through to the younger generations. This is a real credit to CFA's community education work and the dedication of the school's teachers.”

Last Updated: 03 March 2016