Due to the current constraints on our working environment as a result of the COVID-19 virus, the Board’s third meeting for the year was held via teleconference using CFA’s WebEx system.
Chair Greg Smith AM, began by noting that the WebEx facility allowed very effective and productive meetings to occur.
The primary focus of the Board meeting was on COVID-19 and the implications of recent government announcements and restrictions for CFA as an emergency service.
Pandemic Management Team
Acting Assistant Chief Officer Tony O’Day gave a detailed briefing on the work of the Pandemic Management Team that has been established under the leadership of Acting Executive Director People and Culture Garry Cook and Tony. The team is working full time on co-ordinating CFA’s response to the coronavirus.
The Board acknowledged the significant work to date to ensure the safety and wellbeing of CFA staff and volunteers during this difficult period and encouraged everyone to read and follow the extensive information bulletins and Guidance Notes that are being disseminated. The Board noted that all of the information from the Pandemic Management Team is based on the best possible health advice that CFA can access through government and medical professionals.
The Board also noted the intensive effort that has been put into ensuring that CFA can continue to operate at an optimal level. The Board acknowledged that this is a very challenging time, and that significant demands are being placed on the organisation as we adjust our traditional ways of working.
The Board encouraged everyone to visit the DHHS website and the CFA Intranet COVID-19 page to keep up to date with the latest information.
Report from the Chief Executive Officer / Chief Officer
CEO/Chief Officer Steve Warrington updated the Board on Fire Services Reform, and the Board noted that work is continuing towards an implementation date in the middle of the year.
The CEO/Chief Officer spoke to his report to the Board, highlighting a number of achievements against the CFA Goals, including:
- All 38 integrated fire stations are now on line and delivering road crash rescue support to the community;
- 1200 fire fighters have completed the road crash rescue support training;
- CFA has led the co-ordination and selection process for a Safer Together project building stronger partnerships with Local Government for bushfire risk mitigation;
- Construction of the water treatment plant at the Penshurst VEMTC is nearing completion with initial testing underway;
- Construction of the water treatment plant at the Wangaratta VEMTC has commenced;
- 7 out of 21 Districts have received new structural helmets for eligible fire fighters; and
- 20 out of 21 Districts have received delivery of new BA sets.
The Board particularly noted that in the last financial year nearly 9,000 training programs were delivered and over 75,000 participants completed training activities.
The Board discussed the increased level of donations to CFA and approved a Donations Acceptance Guide and a Strategic Approach to Donations Disbursements. The Board noted that CFA will be working closely with the Trustees of the CFA and Brigades Donations Fund to disburse donated money as quickly and strategically as possible.
The Board received a briefing on the Workplace Manslaughter legislation and will be receiving regular updates on the work being undertaken within CFA to ensure compliance with this legislation as well as with the Environmental Protection Act.
Chief Risk Officer Update
The Chief Risk Officer reported to the Board on the current risk profile, and the Board noted the treatment actions underway to mitigate key risks to the safety and wellbeing of CFA members, including training and support for staff and volunteers operating at heights, and those engaged in low voltage fuse removal and when operating with PV solar and battery systems.
The Board received updates on the Fiskville rehabilitation works, CFA’s greenhouse gas reduction initiatives, and child safety.
The Chair concluded the meeting with the hope that all staff and volunteers stay safe and well during this difficult time.