Dangerous Goods and Infrastructure team recognised with Spirit of CFA Award

Member News image (left to right): Daniel Salt and Matt Allen with Acting Deputy Chief Officer Glenn Pröbstl


If you have a question or issue related to non-traditional fire safety matters, it’s the Dangerous Goods and Infrastructure team (now known as the Specialist Risk and Fire Safety team) that you come to for advice and information. 


The team of Matthew Allen, Jennifer Blyth, Cindy Harrison-Roberts and Daniel Salt are winners of the 2020 Spirit of CFA Excellence in Interagency or Group Cooperation (team) Award. 

“They’re innovative, agile, outcome and solution focussed,” said Head of Community Infrastructure, Andrew Andreou. “They always take on the challenge.” 

The tyre dump in Stawell was one of those challenges. The stockpile of one million tyres in Western Victoria was one of the world’s largest tyre dumps and had sat dormant for nearly a decade. The risk to the community was significant and the team knew they had to do something.

So, in collaboration and partnership with key agencies, they developed a set of guidelines for the safe storage and handling of waste materials. They are now leaders in dangerous goods risk management having developed guidelines for tyre storage (indoors and external) and combustible waste resource recovery storage (internal and external). 

The team has developed and enhanced strategic relationships with EPA, WorkSafe, Sustainability Victoria, DELWP, Municipal Association of Victoria, Fire Rescue Victoria, Emergency Management Victoria, and demonstrated their expert knowledge to government partners, industry, CFA Regions, districts and brigades by keeping them informed on emerging risks and issues. 

The growth of the renewable energy sector has seen the team adapt to new and emerging risks. Since their nomination, the team have developed design guidelines and model requirements for designing, constructing and operating new renewable facilities and upgrading existing ones.

Earlier this year Matt Allen showcased their work at the European Union Energy Systems Safety Conference. The guidelines have also received praise and recognition from international energy storage safety expert Professor Paul Christensen from Newcastle University (UK). 

“The hardest thing is to put something on paper and the easiest is to critique it,” said Andrew. 

“Encouraging innovation takes courage. So does investing in our people. Under the leadership of Alen Slijepcevic and Lucy Saaroni we’re growing and nurturing CFA people to be their best. And when you invest and grow your people, they become the gift that keeps on giving.” 

Matt’s finance background, and his volunteer perspective, along with Jennifer’s administration and experience in the non-profit sector brought in a new perspective and encouraged them to view these issues using a non-traditional, more risk and evidence-based lens. 

“This team is doing great things and deserving recipients of this award. I couldn’t be prouder,” said Andrew. 


Submitted by CFA Media