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Update to Safety Alert - Wildland PPC, Recruit Course Commencing 6 March 2015
As an update to the recent Safety Alert 36 – Wildland Personal Protective Clothing (PPC) the following further advice is provided:
• Testing has commenced of wildfire PPC that reflects its actual storage, handling and use arrangements within CFA. This testing is in response to the AFAC Industry Safety Advice following the identification of a potential concern related to formaldehyde levels in some test results of PROBAN® treated products. CFA wildfire PPC and overalls contain PROBAN®, which provides the flame retardant capability. It's planned this testing will continue into next week to ensure the testing scenarios are reflective of our practices. As the results are available CFA will be able to provide clear guidance on:
o any actual risks from the storage, handling and use arrangements within a field environment
o amendments to any practices in CFA and/or the AFAC recommendations
• Washing of wildfire PPC should follow the manufacturer's instructions.
• It is not necessary to wash wildfire PPC after every wear (i.e. attendance at false alarm, brigade activities). It is recommended that PPC is washed when it is soiled or heavily affected by ash or smoke.
• Given that the washing and drying process is relatively simple and in most cases can be completed within 24hrs, brigades would need to demonstrate a compelling reason before additional PPC could be issued. Brigades may need to consider the timing of PPC cleaning and rotation of gear to ensure a response capacity together with utilising any spare PPC within the brigade. If a brigade has a concern about its ability to respond during cleaning of PPC this should be raised with the relevant catchment officer.
• Fire services in conjunction with AFAC are working through this issue. More research and investigation is required before we can provide definitive advice that confirms the extent of the problem and action that needs to be taken.
• More information on formaldehyde is available here.
CFA Recruit Course Commencing 6 March 2015
The first of this year's CFA recruit firefighter training courses begins on 6 March 2015 at Emergency Management Victorian Training Centre (VEMTC) Craigieburn. 30 CFA recruits will take part in the course which will be conducted over an 18.8 week period. A Coordinator plus eight instructors are now being appointed and will be drawn from CFA integrated fire stations across numerous Districts.
The course syllabus will be delivered on a four day on and four day off roster and for the first time, CFA recruits will be trained in emergency medical awareness. Of CFA's successful candidates – 36% have CFA volunteer experience, 56% are from regional parts of Victoria with the remainder coming from urban Melbourne areas. As usual, recruits come from a range of work experience backgrounds and the latest group include many who have worked in trades and government jobs.
This latest recruit course is the second to be held at VEMTC Craigieburn and follows the plan of the State Training Strategy developed by EMV in partnership with CFA, MFB, and the other emergency management agencies. Another CFA recruit training course will begin on 22 March, and two more are programmed in August this year.
The move of the CFA recruit training course to Craigieburn increases Fiskville's capacity for other training. In fact, the new training schedule will cater for an expected increase on the 2015 promotional assessment and development courses and also an increase in the throughput of volunteer skills acquisition and maintenance courses.
In 2015, we also expect that there will be an increase in both CFA and external use of the Fiskville conference and hospitality facilities. Operations Manager James Dullard was recently appointed as Interim Manager of Operations Training Delivery to provide stability to the facility throughout this transitional period. I am sure you will join me in congratulating James and wish him well in the managing the future expansion of operational training courses.