To date, I’ve received a lot of feedback from people, covering a broad range of areas such as resourcing, training requirements, increasing our capability, more support for staff in the field, issues with existing systems and processes, and fire services reform.
Some of these issues are a long-standing source of frustration and I’d like to reassure you that I and the Executive are committed to resolving these in a timely manner.
On the reform front, an Interdepartmental Committee (IDC) has been established to oversee the establishment of Fire Rescue Victoria. I represent CFA on this committee and am working with representatives from EMV and MFB on the implementation of the reforms. I’ll continue to provide updates on this work where I can and I’d encourage you to keep an eye on our intranet for updates.
I know many of you have questions about the future of CFA. But I want to make it absolutely clear that CFA’s vital role in firefighting will continue, and the reforms will allow us to grow stronger as a truly community-based volunteer organisation.
While 38 career and integrated stations will become part of Fire Rescue Victoria in the future, CFA will still be responsible for supporting more than 1200 brigades and many tens of thousands of volunteers across the state, including in outer metropolitan areas.
Our mission remains the same, and we are focused on strengthening our volunteer base and identifying how we can provide additional support to our staff in our regions and districts who directly engage with our brigades and volunteers.
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As you know I have undertaken a minor realignment of CFA’s Executive to reduce the number of direct reports and provide greater focus on key areas including risk, governance and compliance. More detail about the functions within Directorates is available on our intranet.
The Executive met earlier this week to discuss how we, as leaders, support our people to deliver on the CFA Strategy and the 2019-20 CFA Plan, which are being finalised, while implementing the changes which will occur through reform. We are committed to driving positive change and setting CFA up as a strong organisation for the future.
We will also be reinforcing our values, with an emphasis on putting safety first, which anchors all of our work; from empowering our communities to be prepared for fire to developing a child safe culture. This also includes looking out for the physical and mental safety of the thousands of people who work or volunteer with us.
I would like to call out the work of the Training team, under Gregg Paterson, which has enabled more than 400 members from 111 brigades to complete the Low Voltage Fuse Removal training, bringing to 4800 the number of firefighters across CFA who are now proficient in this skill.
Our Safe Working at Heights program has also begun pilot testing at a number of brigades. Both of these programs are an important investment in the safety of our people.
On a personal note, I’ll be participating in the Melbourne Firefighter Stair Climb which aims to raise money for organisations which support emergency services in dealing with depression, PTSD and suicide. This is an important cause and I’ll be donning the turnout gear to support our people and raise some much-needed funds. I’d urge you to consider making a donation to this important cause.
Stay safe in these chilly conditions.