Scott Richardson, Group Officer and Beeac Fire Brigade, District 6
What is your CFA role?
I’m group officer of the Beeac and District Fire Brigades Group. Previously I was first and third deputy group officer. I held the role of captain and group officer at the same time but I stepped down from being captain so I could give 100 per cent to the group officer role, helping other brigades. I was elected as the captain of Beeac Fire Brigade when I was 21 years old and held the role for 20 years. I’ve also been a Junior coordinator and recruited and trained our Junior teams for the Championships.
Why did you join?
My dad was captain of Beeac brigade so I grew up around the brigade. I wanted to be part of the community and help the community at times of need, whether during an emergency or just to offer a helping hand. I started in the Junior ranks in the running teams and worked my way up through the seniors.
What incident has had the greatest impact on you?
Of the hundreds of jobs I’ve attended some will always remain with me – a house fire, a running grassfire, the campaign fires of Enfield, Wye River and Black Saturday. Each one leaves its own memories, some better than others. But in a small community such as Beeac even a small incident can have a lasting impression and impact.
Who have been your mentors in CFA?
Many people have helped me become the firefighter and leader that I am today. My dad and Communication Officer of Beeac Fire Brigade John Smith have been very influential. But the most inspirational people are all the volunteers who put themselves on the line every call. They leave their families and loved ones for a local incident or deployment because of their sense of community and because they know the gesture will be returned by other volunteers.
Not long after I was elected captain, Mark Gunning (currently the operations manager in District 6) arrived and was very supportive. To this day he supports me in my role as group officer. Malcolm Fallon (a retired operations manager) was also hugely supportive of me when I was a captain and especially when I stepped up into the group roles.
What has been the highlight of your time in CFA?
On a personal level I would have to say meeting my wife Lucy. I built a strong brigade where we all worked together as one team, no matter our rank or abilities, to achieve our goals and we guided our Junior members to come up through the ranks.
What lessons are you most keen to pass onto other members?
No matter what rank you are or position you hold you work as part of a team to achieve the best outcome you can for your community – whether that’s for CFA or at a personal level. Communication is always the key. Whether on a call or at a social event, don’t be frightened to ask for help because there is no silly question. Also, if you have any concerns after the call has finished always ask for help – someone will always be around to listen and help.