Changing the face of CFA volunteering

A flexible volunteering model has the potential to change the face of CFA volunteering and develop communities that are more connected and better able to prepare for, respond to, and recover from future emergencies.


In the event of a large scale fire event or campaign fire, local communities often rally to support threatened communities. But for those who are not a member of the CFA, volunteering to help has not always been straightforward.

But in the State’s North East a flexible model for volunteering is being piloted to provide a framework to engage non-traditional volunteers in CFA by looking at different ways to share the workload, support the brigade and build community capacity.  

The model has a clear aim to increase inclusion and diversity within brigades and fits with emergency management research that demonstrates the need for agencies to try a new approach to attracting and engaging with volunteers.

A Flexible Volunteerism Working Group was established to develop, trial and evaluate the pilot with three brigades in District 24, including identifying roles that can be done by non-traditional volunteers, ensuring partnerships with LGAs and a range of volunteer based organisations.

Representatives from the Indigo Valley, Barnawartha and District 24 Headquarters Brigades are working with the Volunteer Sustainability team to bring together what’s needed to harness the power of volunteers and bring together a flexible volunteering model that works.

A framework to support flexible volunteering includes project volunteers, spontaneous volunteers and traditional volunteers.

Group and brigade management teams in District 24 are currently being informed about how the flexible volunteering model can used and its implementation is imminent.

Two 'Harnessing the Power of Volunteers' workshops were held at District 24 Headquarters earlier this year. The tailored workshops were interactive, educational and designed for CFA staff, volunteers and other stakeholders to gain an understanding about how a flexible model of volunteering will inspire and support innovation within CFA’s service delivery.

Participants agreed that the benefits of a different approach are many and will create a bigger, more flexible, adaptable and resilient workforce.

The pilot is expected to run during the 2018-19 financial year, followed by an evaluation to determine the future of flexible volunteering.

For more information contact Project Officer Michelle Critchley on 0409 938 563.

Flexible Volunteering Working Group

Author: Tony Cattermole