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CFA Board communique May 2019

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The Board held its fifth regular meeting of the year on 20 May 2019 at CFA Headquarters.

The meeting began on a sad note, with the Board acknowledging the recent passing of Mr Kevin Shea, former Chair of the CFA Board. The Board extends its condolences to Mr Shea’s family and friends.

CFA Board communique May 2019

Safety share

As usual, the Board considered a safety share at the beginning of the meeting. This time, the Safety Share was provided by the Health Services Manager who spoke to a publication by Exercise and Sport Science Australia. The Board noted the connection between exercise and physical and mental health, and the benefits of exercising for just one hour per week.

Parks Victoria presentation

The Chair of the Board, Mr Greg Smith AM, was very pleased to welcome executives from Parks Victoria to the meeting, who provided a presentation on the Managing Country Together Program.

The Board noted that Parks Victoria has a number of Joint Management Plans with Traditional Owner groups, which include the use of traditional approaches to planned burning. The Board also noted that CFA has run a program for staff and volunteers on how to recognise sites and artefacts of cultural significance.

The Deputy Chief Officer – Bushfire, who joined the meeting for the Parks Victoria presentation, was asked to return to a future Board meeting to provide advice on CFA’s approach to planned burning.

Guest speaker

This month, the Board’s special guest speaker was Ms Liana Buchanan, the Principal Commissioner for Children and Young People, who outlined the work of the Commission to the Board.

The Commissioner acknowledged the significant amount of work on child safety that had been undertaken by CFA, particularly in the past six months, and provided advice on some key areas of focus for ongoing action. The Board reiterated its firm commitment to develop CFA as a child safe organisation.

CEO/CO report

The Acting Chief Executive Officer and Chief Officer, Mr Gavin Freeman AFSM, spoke to his monthly report to the Board, highlighting:

  • CFA’s continuing approach to improve child safety, noting that:
    • An operational directive has been issued that 16 and 17-year-old members should not be part of strike teams;
    • A broad awareness campaign on avenues for reporting child safety concerns has been developed; and
    • Posters and information about CFA’s Child Safety campaign have been distributed to all brigades.
  • The Brigade Management Manual has been updated, and a Communications Plan has been developed to support the release of the Manual.
  • The People Matter Survey was released on 27 May for the third consecutive year. The Board encouraged all members to fully participate so that meaningful feedback can be considered.
  • The Acting Chief Officer presented a cheque for $1.6 million to The Good Friday Appeal organisers, which represented the contribution from brigades.
  • The Winter Smoke Alarm Campaign. A long-term residential fire safety campaign has been developed based on the amended AFAC position which includes new, additional messaging.
  • The planned burning program has been occurring as the weather conditions have allowed. it now stands at 24 burns, 587 hectares and 601 linear kilometres.
  • The Road Crash Rescue Support (RCRS) training program has been successfully completed by 431 firefighters. Eight stations have commenced RCRS response capability, with Wodonga, Warrnambool, Traralgon and Latrobe West commencing in late April.

Resource recovery and storage of dangerous goods

The Acting Deputy Chief Officer-Urban and the Executive Manager Community Safety attended the Board meeting to present on CFA’s involvement in resource recovery and dangerous goods storage. The Board noted the current level of commitment and activity by CFA on these issues. The meeting noted that the new CEO/CO Mr Steve Warrington AFSM would begin his duties upon his return from leave.