Awarded after serving CFA for over 35 years

Member News image Deputy Chief Officer Gavin Thompson


Deputy Chief Officer (DCO) Gavin Thompson’s more than 35 years of service to CFA exemplify his exceptional leadership, innovation, operational skills and commitment to community safety.


This unwavering commitment and his multifaceted contributions have earned him a prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal in today’s King’s Birthday Honours.  

Across his time at CFA, Gavin has performed various roles from firefighter through to his current role of Deputy Chief Officer of CFA’s North West Region.   

Over his years of service, Gavin has become a respected figure not only among his peers and across the emergency management sector, but also within CFA’s membership. At every step he has not only shown exceptional commitment to developing the necessary technical, administrative and leadership skills needed to personally excel, he has made it his mission to support and develop those around him.   

Gavin joined Bayswater Fire Brigade as a Junior volunteer in 1986 and transferred to Boronia Fire Brigade as a senior member in 1990. He rose through the ranks to become 1st Lieutenant in 1998 at the age of 23.   

“We weren’t a traditional junior brigade undertaking competitions, but instead were focused on developing skills to transition into the senior ranks,” Gavin said. “Bayswater Fire Brigade was a progressive and well led fire brigade.  

“At Boronia I was exposed to how well an integrated brigade can work, where volunteers turned out alongside career firefighters. I had a series of mentors, both staff and volunteers, and not only in Boronia Fire Brigade – I also benefited from the advice of senior leaders from other fire brigades across Knox Group.”  

In 2000, he joined CFA as a recruit career firefighter and across the next eight years moved through the ranks at postings across the state including Shepparton, Chelsea, Patterson River and Dandenong.   

“During my early years as a career firefighter, I was fortunate to develop strong relationships and increase my skill set.”  

His commitment to CFA extended beyond his career firefighting role, and he continued to volunteer with The Basin Fire Brigade during this time.   

He was promoted to Officer in Charge of Dandenong Fire Brigade in 2008, using his initiative and leadership skills to enhance the fire brigade’s integration. In 2010 and 2011 Gavin was seconded to Falls Creek Fire Brigade, managing firefighting response planning and capability in the alpine region during the Victorian snow seasons, ensuring the safety of communities in these unique firefighting environments.   

“The winter seasons in Falls Creek emphasised the importance of emergency management and community connectedness,” Gavin said.  

Following this he was promoted to an Operations Manager role at CFA’s Burwood Headquarters, providing leadership in the HR Planning space and then to the Volunteer Sustainability and Member Wellbeing pilots which were core to building ongoing viability for fire brigades and providing mental health support to members. These initiatives are now embedded in CFA’s standard practices.  

In 2016 he was appointed DCO for CFA’s North West Region, a role that currently oversees 246 fire brigades and more than 10,000 volunteer members in an area stretching from Port Phillip Bay at Werribee to the Murray River and South Australian border in the north-west. He is well respected for his passionate and supportive leadership and focus on developing and educating the next generation of leaders across both volunteers and staff.   

“In my DCO role I see it is imperative to continue to build and strengthen volunteerism and positive community outcomes,” Gavin said. 

In addition to his DCO role, Gavin is a Level 3 Incident Controller and Regional Controller as well as a Regional Agency Commander and State Agency Commander, providing operational support and direction across all levels of emergency management including response to major fires and significant floods. He has also acted in the role of CFA Chief Officer. 

“To be nominated and awarded the AFSM is truly humbling and whilst I am receiving this award, it is a testament to the great people I have had the opportunity to work with during my time in CFA,” Gavin said. 




Submitted by CFA Media