AFSM for dedicated Ballarat firey

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Mark Cartledge has received recognition for his thirty-year commitment to firefighting by being named a recipient of the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM).


The prestigious honour is awarded to those who have rendered distinguished service as a member of an Australian fire service.

Mr Cartledge said he was shocked and humbled to hear that he had received the award.

“I was quite overwhelmed when I first found out I had been nominated, let alone to receive the award,” said Mr Cartledge.

“I look at previous recipients and, in my mind, they’ve really stood out for their achievements and accomplishments.

“Then I look at myself and find it hard to believe that I’m in the same league as them because I’m not looking for any recognition or awards, I just do it because I love it.”

Fire and emergency management is second nature to Mark, who started his volunteering journey with CFA when he joined Ballarat Fire Brigade in January 1992.

“As a young kid, I always wanted to be a firefighter and I thought joining the fire brigade would be a good way to give back to the community.

Mark’s firefighting skills complement his employment as a Municipal Fire Prevention Officer at the City of Ballarat, where he is well regarded as leader in the Fire Prevention and Municipal Emergency Management sector.

Prior to this, Mark was a project firefighter with Forest Fire Management Victoria (FFMVic) for nine years.

Since joining the Ballarat Fire Brigade, Mark has been passionate about the Road Crash Rescue Unit.

As a result of his active operational leadership of the unit, the brigade has the most up to date equipment and its rescue members are highly trained.

Mark is passionate about training and regularly conducts road rescue awareness training with other brigades in the primary rescue response area to ensure higher levels of understanding, co-operation, and competency during operational response to road accidents.

For the past thirteen years, Mark has also volunteered his time to Amber Community (formerly Road Trauma Support Services) as a speaker. He regularly speaks to groups or individuals who have lost their licenses due to dangerous driving related matters about road trauma, in an attempt to change their driving behaviour.

All his firefighting and road rescue achievements aside, Mark said one of the most impactful moments during his time with CFA was working with survivors of child sex abuse through a connection to Ballarat Fire Brigade in the 1970’s and 1980’s.

“It was important to me for both CFA and the brigade to recognise the strength of survivors,” he said.

“We did this through the construction of a permanent plaque and ‘loud fence’ at the Ballarat Fire Station.”

The genuine connection with survivors and compassion displayed by Mark did not go unnoticed by senior leaders, with his sustained and authentic leadership the driving force behind a poignant plaque unveiling in 2019.

“I thought I was just a Captain trying to make a positive change for the brigade and the wider Ballarat community – when I really think about it, what it’s done has actually created change for CFA as a whole.”

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan congratulated Mark on receiving his honour, saying he was a deserving recipient for his dedication and commitment not only to fire safety, but improving road safety outcomes and for demonstrating leadership and drive for CFA’s culture change and values.

Mark Cartledge is one of five CFA members to receive AFSM recognition in this year’s Australia Day Honours List.


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Submitted by CFA Media