Update from Acting Chief Officer Gavin Freeman

Over the next 10 weeks I’ll be stepping into the role of Chief Officer while Steve Warrington takes a well-earned rest


I started as a firefighter 34 years ago with the Tasmania Fire Service and worked my way up through the organisation finishing my time with TFS as Chief Officer in 2015/16 before joining CFA as Deputy Chief Officer - Urban.

It’s a privilege to lead CFA, if only for the short term. Our organisation has a long history of great leaders, all with the same common goal: to protect lives and property in Victoria. This too, will be my focus over the next 10 weeks.

While we’re coming out of fire season, we’re certainly not there just yet. A number of fires continue to burn across the state, and we’re expecting warm conditions later this week, particularly in the Wimmera.

Our firefighters continue to do a remarkable job in responding quickly and efficiently, as evidenced by last week’s blazes in Bunkers Hill and Mount Mercer. While it’s late in the season, I urge you all to remain vigilant to the possibility of fires, wherever you may be.

While fires are our focus, there are a number of exciting things coming up on the horizon for our organisation. This starts with the State Rural Championships in Bendigo this weekend, one of the highlights on the Victorian firefighting calendar. I am heading up to Bendigo and look forward to seeing faces new and old, and some healthy competition. Good luck to all involved, and may the best brigade win.

There are a number of updates in the training area, Low Voltage Fuse Removal (LVFR) and Safe Working from Heights training is in full swing. Currently, 66 brigades have received the LVFR training, with another 32 to go in this phase of the roll-out. Safe Working from Heights training will be delivered to volunteers in the not too distant future, and career firefighters can expect to receive the training at the VEMTC training base, if they haven’t already.

This training is another measure to increase the safety of CFA staff and volunteers, which is a priority at all times. The new General Firefighters program, which is replacing Minimum Skills, will be hitting brigades soon, and more information will be made available on this shortly.

All of us at CFA can help the environment. Pagers are essential to us but they consume around 230,000 AA batteries per year, which can potentially lead to a large landfill burden. ALDI supermarkets have a free battery recycling program at each of its stores in Australia, and CFA members have access to this without needing to be a customer. I would encourage all of you to collect your used pager batteries and drop them off at an ALDI supermarket when you have the chance.

Over the next 10 weeks I’ll be providing weekly updates on the Chief Officer Facebook page, with the first of these live now.  

Thanks, and stay safe.

Author: Gavin Freeman