Top honour for 50 years of service to community

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Richard Cromb has received an Australian Fire Service Medal in the 2022 Queen’s Birthday Honours in honour of his more than 50 years of dedication to Victoria’s fire services.


Joining CFA as a volunteer in 1970 at the age of 16, Richard’s passion and commitment to developing a culture of high-standard training within the brigade was evident early and he has since been commended for his outstanding capacity and skill as a practical teacher.

At 18, Richard was instrumental in establishing the Sassafras-Ferny Creek Junior Fire Brigade ensuring more young people in the area had a deeper understanding of fire and fire behaviour as well as an interest in CFA. This bolstered the capabilities of the brigade as a whole.

By 1997 he was the brigade’s captain. He played a key role during the Dandenong Ranges bushfires of that year. As divisional commander for the fires, Richard’s deep local knowledge and operational experience as well as his passion for community preparedness allowed him to make key decisions to keep the community safe as well as prepare people for what was to come.

Richard said that the fires really showed the spirit of what it means to be a part of CFA.

“The community was hit really hard and there was a lot of help required,” he said.

“We always turn out to fires; we jump on our trucks and head out to support other areas of Victoria and even interstate.

“When that assistance arrives in your own district to help you in your time of need, you realise how important CFA is and the type of people that are involved in CFA.”

Following the 1997 fires, Richard would go on to be a highly-valued member of many subsequent incident control teams including during the 2009 and 2019-20 Victorian bushfires.

In 1999 Richard joined CFA’s training team as a bushfire instructor attached to District 13 where he remains to this day. In addition to leading driver training and building the capability of brigades, Richard has had significant input developing training material for CFA’s heavy tankers. His input has led to improvements in the safety and operational ability of these appliances for the crews who operate them across the state.

In addition to working in CFA’s Training team Richard remains a volunteer and member of Sassafras-Ferny Creek Fire. He sits on the brigade’s management team and is responsible for driver education and skills maintenance.

Richard said the highlight of his time in CFA so far has been the people he’s come across.

“I’ve worked with some absolutely amazing, dedicated and very talented people – both volunteer and staff, and that to be has to be the highlight for me,” Richard said.

Richard said he is humbled to receive an AFSM.

“When I found out it just stopped me dead in my tracks,” he said.

“It’s a great honour and I’m incredibly proud.”



Submitted by CFA Media