District 24 women: learning by doing

District 24 Women’s Reference Group hosted a Women’s Workshop on 24 November at District Headquarters in Wodonga. 


District 24 Women's Reference Group training session

The workshop covered having difficult conversations, manual handling, health and fitness. It was attended by 20 members from across the district, with differing levels of experience to share.

The Workshop participants were welcomed to the event by the Chair of the Women’s Reference Group Tracy McVea (Beechworth Fire Brigade lieutenant and district support officer), who introduced the first facilitator Melisa Sincock, Member Wellbeing Adviser North East Region.

Melisa’s topic for the workshop was 'Having difficult conversations', which most participants could relate to. The members broke into smaller groups and discussed case studies based around scenarios that required a difficult conversation to resolve the issue at hand. Each group presented their preferred way forward to the rest of the members. Melisa reminded the members that CFA's Wellbeing Support Line (1800 959 232) could also be accessed to help members and their families cope with any issues they may be dealing with.

After lunch participants were split into two groups for the next facilitators - Sarah Hamilton and Dave Rossiter from Enhance Physiotherapy. Sarah’s presentation covered health and fitness and described some easy exercises to help us all stay active. Members were given a copy of the CFA Micro-Breaks exercise poster created by the Healthy for LIFE Program. 

Dave, who is also a CFA volunteer, took his group through a manual handling session based around using hoses. Members were shown how to safely pick up and bowl a 38mm hose on the bight (following FGP 1.2.1), then Dave demonstrated how to effectively control and advance a charged 38mm hose. All members undertook each task with enthusiasm. The session finished with a demonstration about how to enter and exit CFA tankers safely, making sure to always maintain three points of contact.

Feedback from participants showed they had a great time and that they all gained something from the sessions. 

“It was very practical. Both sessions gave us skills and tips to take home. In all-women events it feels safe to ask questions and learn how to do things better,” said one participant. “I picked up some great new tips. It was a safe space to ask questions and meet other women who have the same issues,” said another. 

District Business Manager Laura Tierney summed up the event by saying, “These types of sessions are vital if we are going to hold onto and increase the number of female volunteers in CFA”.      

If any member of CFA would like to access the information covered in this District 24 Women’s Workshop, click on the "Access info and services' button on the home page of Members Online (members.cfa.vic.gov.au), then click on the 'Health, Safety, Environment and Wellbeing' tab. Alternatively, you can find information using the new and improved search function.

Author: Mick Daws