Spirit of CFA Award winners for Excellence in Partnership Development

Member News image (left to right): Angela Cook and Kelly Stoner with Acting Chief Officer Gavin Thompson


CFA staff members Angela Cook, Kelly Stoner and Ellisa Bourne have won the 2022 Excellence in Partnership Development Award (team) in the 2022 Spirit of CFA Awards.


The women designed a program that supports people most at risk of bushfire because of a disability. This initiative, known as the Preparing Vulnerable People Project, is a participatory, person-centred approach designed to reduce the number of deaths resulting from fires by helping vulnerable people feel safer and more confident about their bushfire risk.

By developing training for carers and guidance for the care sector and by delivering a home visit service in partnership with Red Cross volunteers, CFA can reach so many more people in a more meaningful way.

CFA’s Head of Community and Preparedness Lucy Saaroni, who nominated the women, said that Angela, Kelly and Ellisa have demonstrated their steadfast belief in the ability of our community members to be placed at the very centre of planning and decision-making.

“The nominees have shown great compassion and understanding of people living with disability and who are at risk of fire, as well as the care sector,” Lucy said.

“It’s been wonderful to see the team apply the latest research in Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness to create a flagship program for CFA that values people with a disability and the expertise they have in managing their needs in a fire safety context.”  

Angela Cook, who joined CFA in 2005, is the Senior Engagement Advisor People at Higher Risk, a role she shares with Kelly Stoner.

“My first experience at CFA was doing a training course in 2003 to become a casual presenter for a CFA region,” Angela said. “I still remember thinking how great all the other people doing the course were and realising that I had found my tribe. These people shared the same values as me, they wanted to help people and they cared about community safety and that is why I am still here.”

Team Leader of Community Engagement Content and Capability Ellisa Bourne at CFA joined CFA in 2000 to make a difference to the community.

Ellisa said it was great that CFA valued community engagement and appreciated what the team was achieving.

“Over my years at CFA I’ve seen how a major emergency can impact the community and it’s great that CFA can help ease the pain and suffering of those effected,” Ellisa said.

Kelly Stoner has been a volunteer with Rye Fire Brigade since 2000 and began working for CFA five years ago.

Kelly said winning this award made her proud of all the hard work she had put in at CFA and she valued being recognised by CFA.

“The work we have done, and continue to do, on nurturing key partnerships has been crucial to our success in working to reduce the risk from fire for people in higher risk groups,” Kelly said.

“Hearing feedback from members involved in our pilot program, Emergency Planning Advice Service, on their positive experiences using Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness in their communities has been exciting. We are looking forward to seeing how the program can work in more areas over the coming months and years.

“It has been great to watch the progression of community engagement at CFA over the years, especially the importance of including people with greater support needs,” she said.

There’s also a Podcast at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/about-us/publications/audio-files-and-podcasts


Submitted by CFA Media