Belmont firefighter Robin Noel Parsons will today receive the prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) as part of the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Robin will receive the medal after more than 57 years of service with CFA.
He first joined the CFA as a volunteer reserve member at Geelong City in 1962 and became an active firefighter in 1963.
“When I first joined CFA as a volunteer I set myself the goal to one day become a career member,” Robin said.
“I recall my father heading off to fight bushfires as a CFA volunteer when I was younger and when my brothers joined Geelong City Brigade that motivated me to join and make the same contribution.
“I volunteered under a number of excellent mentors and as I gained more experience I tried to model myself after them.”
It was 10 years later, in 1973 when Robin joined the career staff as a firefighter at Geelong City and climbed the ranks to serve as a Station officer across a number of brigades before he eventually took up a position to be a Senior Instructor and Operations Officer at Fiskville.
He has displayed a passion and dedication to improve service delivery by CFA and he achievement of more effective emergency management.
Specifically, Robin distinguished himself as an eminent source of information relating to the practices of the Australasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS) and the implementation of the Incident Control System (ICS).
“Comradery is certainly developed on the fire ground, but it’s also built in the classroom and my objective as an AIIMS Instructor was to help personnel built that team spirit early on so that when they found themselves working together at an incident, the teamwork came easily,” Robin said.
“We want all emergency services personnel participating in an operation to play a team game and understand their role in the team and that’s why the structure is so important and has been adopted by so many organisations.”
He has gained the experience of participating as a senior member of Incident Management Teams (IMTs) during campaign fires and emergency incidents across Australia. He has been described as going above and beyond to mentor personnel in the AIIMS system, regularly delivering training and sharing his experience.
“I loved both sides of my involvement with the CFA; I found enjoyment in teaching other members the AIIMS structure in the classroom, but I also loved being out on the fire ground with other brigade members,” Robin said.
“Both roles complemented each other. I’d watch how things were managed on the fire ground for different incidents as a volunteer and was able to compare it with what we were teaching our personnel in training.”
Robin said he enjoyed many of the simple things like getting ready for work and spending time with his colleagues at the station.
“I was always excited to get to the station with a good team for the shift,” he said.
“We often worked on developing great working relationships among our team and that’s what made it so enjoyable and efficient.”
Upon retirement in 2012, he remained a part of CFA, re-joining the Belmont Fire Brigade as a volunteer member and remains in an operational support role.
Robin has previously been awarded a National Medal, Outstanding Service Medal and was named a CFA Life Member.
“This award is the pinnacle of what I would describe as a brilliant career as both a volunteer and staff member of CFA,” he said.
“I have had a rewarding time with CFA and nobody does this job thinking they would be the recipient of this medal because it’s all about serving the community, so it’s completely overwhelming.”