Asset Publisher

Message from Chief Officer Jason Heffernan

  | CFA News Views: 1342

We’re coming into a run of very hot days with an increased risk of grass and bushfires right across the state.

Message from Chief Officer Jason Heffernan

These extreme temperatures also increase the risk to our general health as dehydration can be an extremely serious condition.

While going about your work or protecting your communities you need to be mindful of your own safety and wellbeing particularly in relation to heat stress.

Dehydration can lead to fatigue, impaired coordination and dizziness, so it’s critical to take important precautions to look after your safety.

If you are likely to perform an operational role in coming days you should be aware that you can lose more than one litre of water per hour, which significantly increases the risk of dehydration, exhaustion and heat stress.

 if you attend incidents over the next few days:

  • Incident controllers need to ensure that all crew members are monitored for signs of fatigue and heat stress.
  • Water and electrolyte drinks must be readily available to make sure you can stay well hydrated. Fluid and electrolyte replacement while working in the heat is critical to restore the water lost through sweating.
  • Ensure you drink plenty of fluids before physical activity – don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink water,
  • Where possible, rotate heavy and light tasks so your body has the opportunity to recover. Also, when you take a break remove your coat.
  • Cut back on caffeine and alcohol, as these increase the risk of dehydration.
  • The health of our firefighters is our number one priority and we have a number of rehab units that can be quickly deployed to incidents to support our members. These health teams are skilled at monitoring firefighters and implementing cooling techniques.

I’d urge all of our regions, districts and brigades to be on alert over this period and ensure that you are prepared for these extreme conditions.

Please encourage your family, friends and your local communities to be aware of these potential dangerous conditions and to be mindful of the advice around travelling in unfamiliar areas and to download the VicEmergency App if they haven’t already done so.

Stay safe and look after yourself so that you can look after others.