Alistair Drayton, who joined CFA as member and volunteer 40 years ago, has been recognised for his dedication with the prestigious Australian Fire Service medal (AFSM) in today’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Alistair is an accredited Level 3 Incident Controller, one of only a handful of CFA volunteers with that accreditation. He has also participated in multi-agency Incident Management Teams both interstate and internationally, to provide relief during extended periods of crisis.
Alistair said that receiving the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) is a very humbling experience.
“Every member at CFA contributes in their own way, and it’s also the collaborative support of our communities both big and small, and in every location, that makes it such a rewarding experience,” he said.
His exceptional fire and emergency management expertise and abilities with CFA have enabled him to be included on the duty roster for Regional Controller, a senior position in the State’s emergency management arrangements.
Alistair began his service with the Highton Fire Brigade in 1982. Since 1996 he has been a member of the Wallington Fire Brigade and in July 2000 he became Deputy Group Officer at the Bellarine Group. Four years later he rose to the position of Group Officer, the most senior volunteer role in CFA.
Alistair now holds the position of Group Manager of Bellarine. He was appointed as an instructor and project officer at CFA’s Fiskville Training College and has also mentored members as they gain experience in IMT roles during training exercises and operational situations.
Alistair has tackled many incidents here and overseas including fires at Terang in March 2018, Wye River in 2015, Churchill in 2009 and the Beechworth and Ovens fires in 2003. He has also been deployed to WA and NSW, and internationally to Boise, Idaho and Canada’s Cougar Creek Fire.
As Group Officer, Alistair led the establishment of a training pathway structured to suit volunteers. It ensured all drivers had a common understanding of theory and practice, allowing them to confidently and safely drive ‘Code 1’ with lights and sirens.
“I’ve seen enormous transformation over the past 40 years, none more so than in the past decade,” Alistair said.
“Victorian communities are the backbone of the country.
“It’s here that we form and develop willing volunteers who come together and undertake the appropriate minimum skills for the benefit of their fellow neighbour. There’s something warm and great about that.
“To see a community come together in a time of need and structure up into a well-oiled machine, is very satisfying and we’re good at doing it.”
Alistair is one of four CFA members to receive the AFSM as part of the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.