News & Media

Volunteer access to IT systems

By: Euan Ferguson

  12.00 AM 21 August, 2011

Views: 8407

Access To CFA And DSE Operational Information Systems By CFA Volunteers:

In the last few weeks, I have had a number of complaints about inability of CFA volunteers, who perform Level 3 Incident Management Roles, to be able to access key CFA and DSE operational information management systems.  Manager I/T Michael Foreshew reports that:  “The main reason why access is restricted is due to the potentially very large number of direct (individual) connections.  It is not so much a function of the size of hardware, but rather just the way the software operates.  This is the main reason why a special feed from IMS to Brigades Online was developed.  This allows volunteers to maintain visibility of incidents without placing additional load on IMS.”

CFA has developed a proposal to replace IMS which has now been overtaken by work being undertaken by the Fire Services Commissioner to develop a "Common Operating Platform" between all the fire and emergency services.  The Fire Services Commissioner has also signalled the increased use of DSE's "FireWeb" for bushfire incidents.  Currently, we are investigating extending the access to key systems by all Level 3 Incident Controllers for this fire season.  For other functions, the interim arrangement is for generic or role based access.  (e.g. A planning officer will have a different level of access to a logistics officer because they do different things on an IMT).  The advantage of this approach is that it allows for transfer of the role across different people during an incident.  The individuals in an IMT will change as the incident unfolds and staff are rotated through.  By maintaining the role-based access to systems, including mail, it means that information can be sent to a role regardless of who is performing it.  This allows staff to be rotated through an IMT and transfer the information to the role rather than a specific person.  It also allows for a better audit trail of information.


Approximately two years ago, CFA reached agreement with Microsoft where they provided Live@CFA which included individual email for all volunteers.  The objective here was to provide a CFA-branded email address without increasing the load and cost on CFA.  This is designed primarily to support non-operational and administrative communication between brigades.

Towards A Common Standardised "Livery" For CFA Vehicles:

Christina Bucci from Strategic communications advises that a number of options for a common and standardised livery for CFA vehicles are to be put onto CFA Connect for preliminary feedback from members.  The project partly had its origins when Senior Driving Instructor O/O Glenn Jennings observed that RED coloured vehicles are one of the worst visible vehicle colours.  The intent now is to develop a common guide for transport vehicle colour, striping, signage and CFA logos.  The options that will be presented for comment will include variations on ‘block" stripes; angled stripes; and chequers.  The colour options include red and white, red and lime green and red/white with a lime green outline.  CFA will use the results of the online feedback to further refine vehicle livery options.

About Hope

Hope provides the essence of life.  Hope is generated by a sense of connectiveness to the future: that we will be part of the future and thus we have an obligation to the future.  One could say that, "without hope, we are doomed".  Even though the journey ahead may be difficult and uncomfortable and the future uncertain, with hope, we can find a way.   Thus hope is linked to courage, an ability to face unknown and likely dangers without shrinking.  A sense of hope is often helped by a creative spirit and a good imagination (of what the possibilities may be) and a positive attitude.  Philosopher Margaret Somerville says:  "As breathing is to the human body, hope is to the human spirit".  In times of great despair, our ability to survive and endure is not so much as a result of our strength and fitness, but rather from the sense of individual and collective hope for a better future.  Those who lead, coach, inspire and motivate others are merchants of hope.  Hope is one of the strongest of human capacities, but also one of the most fragile: built up with effort over a long period of time, but dashed in a moment of fear or self-doubt.  For CFA members, in what we do, we are all merchants of hope.

“At first I hoped, then I worked, then I started to believe, then I was convinced, and then, finally, I could prove myself.” - Cadel Evans

Last Updated: 10 December 2015