Message from Acting Chief Officer Gavin Freeman

When there’s a job to do it just gets done. That’s the spirit of our volunteers. That’s the spirit that makes CFA great. And it’s that spirit we celebrate this National Volunteer Week.


Volunteers at the Yinnar South fires, March 2019. Photo by Keith Pakenham AFSM

The standing ovation given to our volunteers as they left the ground at the recent AFL Country Round match at the MCG spoke volumes about how much the whole of Victoria values our volunteers.

After one of our most prolonged fire seasons in a number of years, it was clear that the community was not only grateful, but immensely proud.

More than 16,000 volunteers from 1000 brigades fought in fires over the summer season, putting their hands up for strike teams, often travelling from the other side of the state, and working tirelessly day after day to save lives and property.

And that figure doesn’t capture all the work to support that effort: Coast Guard volunteers putting up hundreds of tents at staging areas, those cooking for hungry crews, fireys manning stations to ensure a response to local incidents, non-operational volunteers making up trucks and keeping everything running smoothly at home, and others working in our incident control centres to support operational efforts.

While the fire season puts a spotlight on that amazing contribution, this is what our 55,000 volunteers do every single day to support others in their time of need - to get the job done.

For me, National Volunteer Week is also about thanking your families and friends for supporting you to do what you do, for their sacrifices in commitment to CFA’s mission. There are also your employers, many of whom ensure that CFA volunteers have the ability to leave their roles for weeks at a time without any consequences. We celebrate you for your role in enabling our people to serve almost two thirds of Victorians.

The work our volunteers do is nothing short of outstanding. This National Volunteer Week I give a heartfelt thank you to our volunteers on behalf of all CFA people. 

Thank you for your passion, your community spirit, your commitment and service. You remind us and the Victorian community every day why CFA is an amazing, vital organisation.

Author: Gavin Freeman, Acting Chief Officer