Invaluable work honoured

Member News image CFA volunteer Dr James Mullins AM


CFA volunteer Dr James Mullins invaluable services to community and emergency organisations have been recognised in the King’s Birthday honours.


The Grovedale Fire Brigade volunteer was awarded a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for significant service to science and the community through an emergency response organisation.

“It hasn’t really sunk in. It’s a great honour. I didn’t really expect it,” James said.

“It’s not why we do what we do as volunteers or engineers. Hopefully, it’s another platform that allows us to do great things and introduce new technology into the fire service.”

James has been instrumental in driving innovation and excellence in the field of immersive learning.

In 2017, James founded FLAIM Systems, a company that specialises in immersive training environments to prepare those who serve.

In 2021 he helped further training by the introduction of virtual reality firefighting, CFA now uses several virtual reality platforms to increase our training to members.

The systems James’ created are similar to flight simulators used for pilot training but designed specifically for firefighters. They combine virtual reality technology with real-life industry standard equipment, such as a fire nozzle, breathing apparatus, hose reel with jet reaction forces, and automated sense-perception devices such as a fire-proximity heat suit to simulate both the visual and sensory experience of being near a fire. 

After graduating and while working for Deakin University, James was working on a project with the Australian Army developing robots to disarm landmines around the same time the CFA’s fire training facility Fiskville closed.

“I saw how the military were training in the virtual space, and I thought we could do the same for firefighters,” James said.

Now 48 countries are utilising this technology, with the next plan to train responders to neutralise IEDs and landmines in Ukraine.

“I have really enjoyed seeing how people use our technology to train around the world. Getting an email from Iceland or the Middle East and hearing how much they love using it,” James said.

“We had experiences when people have trained in our system then two weeks later had a similar incident operationally and were more prepared for it as a result.”

James is also a dedicated CFA member. He joined Maryborough CFA at age 13 as a junior. He has been with Grovedale CFA since 2008, becoming 1st Lieutenant in 2016.

CFA runs in the family. James’ grandfather Patrick Mullins was captain of Maryborough and dad Daniel has been a member of CFA for over 50 years.

“CFA has been a big part of my life and I’ve really enjoyed every minute.”

During his time at CFA, James has been awarded the National Medal, National Emergency Medal for Black Saturday and 25-year Medal from the CFA.

James fought in the Linton bushfire alongside his dad and was crew leader during Black Saturday.

On his time at CFA, James said he just wants to make a difference.

“We generally see people in some of the worst days of their life and if we can make a little bit of difference then that’s what gets me out of bed. Literally,” he said.

“It’s how you give back. Really fulfilling to make a small difference in a big organisation, love meeting great people from diverse backgrounds around Australia too.”


Submitted by CFA media