Succession planning leads to positive results at Officer brigade

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Succession planning is a vital aspect for any brigade, especially as the community across the state grows and changes.


Officer Fire Brigade Captain Robert McCandless said this has been particularly true for his brigade as the once rural area has become more residential in recent years.

“Officer’s community is becoming more and more diverse and with new members come new skill sets,” Robert said. “I think it’s important to acknowledge these and use them to support brigade activities.”

After attending the Succession Planning Framework training as part of his mentor program, Robert said he had been largely focused on the retention and recruitment aspects of succession planning.

“I noticed that each year we would gain about three new members but two years later only one would still be with the brigade if we were lucky,” he said.

“The focus is not only on increasing brigade numbers but on increasing overall brigade morale and commitment. We’re building an office space so people who work from home have the opportunity to work from the station. This will improve the social aspect and help improve turnout times.

“And hopefully we’ll soon have the Juniors program back up and running which will help introduce the next generation to firefighting so they’ll join a brigade in the future.”

Another change introduced by Robert is the way duty crews work. At Officer brigade the members are divided into groups and work with a lieutenant to assist with the tasks of that portfolio.

“These groups are rotated on a regular basis so that all brigade members get a taste of each portfolio,” he said. “This helps people identify an area they are interested in and maybe even a role they want to put their hand up for at the next election.

“It also gives members the ability to identify another member they think would be good in a position and encourage them to go for it.”

At Officer brigade involvement of long-term existing members is also important.

“We have our older members help deliver training sessions and drills and where possible more experienced members are teamed up with newer members when responding to an incident,” he said. “That way they can help build the confidence of new members and remind them that they know what they are doing.”

In the time Robert has been captain at Officer brigade and implementing these changes, there has been a significant increase in the number of brigade members as well positive changes in the brigade’s turnouts, training and involvement in community events.


Submitted by News and Media