An Update from Deputy Chief Officer Gregg Paterson

The safety of our people underpins everything we do, and the quality of our training is a significant contributor to safety across CFA.


Minimum Skills Wildfire training for all operational volunteers was introduced 18 years ago and more than 35,000 of our members have completed it since its launch.

However, a review of Minimum Skills identified a range of potential improvements. A project team was formed to redevelop and modernise the program, leading to the design and development of the new General Firefighter course.

General Firefighter is now the essential foundation for the future training and development of our operational members.

We’ve had lots of questions about how the General Firefighter program development is going, especially in light of the intense fire season and the current COVID-19 situation

Currently the risk of COVID-19 transmission means a pause in all non-essential brigade activities, including face to face training. This means we’ve had some delays in introducing the program.

However, there are alternative ways of passing on information and learning. Some options the team are keen to explore:

  • Making all eleven foundation skill drill videos available on the Learning Hub as soon as possible.
  • eLearning sessions available in electronic format for new members
  • Introducing our CFA educators to the program remotely via delivery of briefing sessions using video platforms and other means of remote communication.

Development of course assessment material and assessor guides is near completion. This means we will soon be able to brief our CFA educators in preparation for resumption of face to face training and assessment. More information will be available on course assessment and educator briefings soon.

Work is continuing on the GFF Face to Face and eLearning theory materials. We are working to fast-track the eLearning so new members can commence GFF theory training using this method. New members can complete Maintain Safety at an Incident and Tree Hazard Awareness online training now, these are prerequisites for the General Firefighter course and will give new members a head start when face to face training can be conducted again.

To all current CFA members, familiarise yourself with the General Firefighter Foundation Skill Drill videos on the Learning Hub. These are the activities new members will complete with brigades once it is possible to conduct face to face training again. More videos are coming soon.

The General Firefighter page on CFA Members Online contains information and regular updates on course development progress.

I am very excited about the future of training at CFA and confident that through General Firefighter we can prepare our people to safely perform their firefighting roles with passion, enthusiasm and commitment.

Author: CFA News