Hard Copy Subscription: $33.00 per annum (Vic) $39.00 (interstate) Posted to you! or check out the on line version.
JUNE 2016 Edition is available now....
FISKVILLE INQUIRY REPORT
by CEO Lucinda Nolan
Last month the final report of the Fiskville Inquiry was released. The report is available on the Victorian Parliament website:www.parliament.vic.gov.au. It outlines 31 recommendations and CFA will be examining these to determine what they mean for CFA and what action we need to take. We are sorry to all of you for what happened at Fiskville. We acknowledge that this has been an extraordinarily difficult period for CFA and for our members, particularly those who lived, trained and worked there. I want to emphasise there have been major changes across the agency to ensure that what happened at Fiskville does not happen again. Concerning the Red Paper, the exposure draft will be available shortly for you to read and provide us feedback. The proposed plan will outline what we want CFA to look like in 10 years, and will support us in setting our own agenda into the future. If we are going to continue to be a strong organisation that can deliver for Victorians, we need to make sure we are adapting to our changing communities and taking advantage of the opportunities new technologies and innovations can provide.
The paper will be available to CFA members on CFA’s Brigades Online. I look forward to hearing your feedback.
Meanwhile, we have appointed Zemeel Saba as CFA’s new Executive Director, People and Culture. She has a wealth of experience and expertise in strategic, operational and large corporate service delivery, and she will play an important role at CFA as we look at ways to transform our culture and improve performance.
Recruitment for other new executive members is well underway and I will continue to keep you updated on the progress.
Welcome to the website of ‘The Fireman’, the longest running publication
within Victoria’s country fire service.
A monthly publication, ‘The Fireman’ is fully supported by Country Fire Authority and is the official publication of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and CFA State Rescue Association and supported by CFA.
CFA TURNOUTS TOTAL 82,000 A YEAR
by Chief Officer Joe Buffone
Following intense scrutiny from the media and community on a proposed new Operational EBA I think is it is important to reflect on some important facts.
Our volunteers are well trained, experienced, highly skilled possess invaluable local knowledge, devoting a significant amount time to keep Victoria safe.
It is worth remembering every CFA brigade has volunteers – every one of our 35 integrated brigades have career staff and volunteers fighting fires and responding to other emergencies, side by side.
Integrated brigades and our career staff play a vital role supporting surrounding brigades in Melbourne and provincial cities.
For example, on any given winter’s night in outer Melbourne you could see a truck with career staff being joined at a house fire by trucks from multiple surrounding fully volunteer brigades.
Outside these metropolitan areas, specialist crews are regularly called from integrated stations to perform rescues, or crew aerial trucks for elevated fire fighting.
Every integrated brigade supports between 1 and 9 brigades surrounding it, with staff crews and volunteers regularly turning out to the same incident. That’s 210 fully volunteer brigades in total who have regular, sometimes daily contact, with career staff.
Every year, volunteers and career staff respond to more than 40,000 emergency incidents and turn out of their brigades more than 82,000 times.
3.3 million Victorians rely on our staff and volunteers to keep them safe from fires and other emergencies – half of Melbourne’s population, and 60% of its area depend on CFA response.
Our volunteers are well trained, experienced, highly skilled and possess invaluable local knowledge, devoting a significant amount of their time to keep Victorians safe.
Vitally, they also provide surge capacity and support when we are faced long duration campaign emergencies – particularly the tens of thousands of volunteers from outer Melbourne and large provincial cities. CFA has the capacity to put 200 volunteer crewed tankers on the road within an hour.
I am also consistently impressed with the high standards our career staff uphold and their capacity to deal with any situation, earning them the respect of their colleagues and the community
I have full confidence in their training, operational knowledge and experience, and their ability to make the right operational decisions on the fireground.
I question then, the need to prescribe operational decision making for career staff in a workplace agreement which removes their authority and ability to be agile and flexible, based on the size, complexity, and risk of the job.
The community must be at the centre of everything we do and any agreement must allow all our members to provide the most agile, flexible, effective and efficient service possible.
The CEO and Chief Officer have legislative accountably and responsibility for running the organisation and controlling its resources.
We must, according to the law, “control of the prevention and suppression of fires in the country area of Victoria”. In other words, protect lives and property.
The current proposal presents barriers to fulfilling our responsibilities by:
• Removing or diminishing the ability of the Chief Officer to allocate and deploy resources flexibly and with agility
• Requiring agreement or provide veto to UFU over CFA management decision
• Restricting or negatively impact on volunteers.
• Be discriminatory
These negotiations have been long and challenging and we have been focused on what is fair and reasonable. We will continue to work to resolve this dispute.
We have maintained the pay and conditions of our career staff to ensure they continue to be recognised and rewarded appropriately for the work that they do.
In the midst of all of this, it is worth reflecting on CFA now and where we want it to be - a modern, contemporary, inclusive and unified fire and emergency service.
Finally, I ask that all of us focus on respect. Respect is about recognising the value of every person and their contribution to CFA and the community, and honouring everyone regardless of our views.
ALL COMMUNITIES, ALL EMERGENCIES
(Craig Lapsley, Emergency Management Commissioner)
WE HAVE BEEN MAKING A CHANGE in the way we approach emergency management. You may have heard the new phrase we are using – ‘all communities, all emergencies.’ The community is at the centre of everything we do. We are the people protecting the people. ‘All communities, all emergencies’ captures this.
It also represents an evolution in the ‘all hazards, all agencies’ approach for emergency management.
It puts all types and levels of communities at the centre of decision making. ‘Community’ in its broadest definition includes geographic and place based community groups that have common interests, networks and social systems that include family, friends neighbours and community groups. There are faith based communities, business communities, tourism communities, and the list goes on.
In Victoria, whether it’s sheep to shore, country to city, environment to ports, outback to ocean, however you describe it, we protect it. ‘Emergency’ includes all types of significant events that are sudden, unexpected or impending situations that may cause loss of life, injury, damage and or interference with the normal activities of life. This means emergencies caused by weather or natural emergencies, human health, animal health, failure of infrastructure and security emergencies.
‘All communities, all emergencies’ is a broad approach and is underpinned by ‘working in conjunction with Communities, Government, Agencies and Business’ and captured in the ’we work as one’ sector principle. In emergency management we come from a fire and flood-focussed environment. There are reasons for that, the 2009 royal commission is one of the reasons, but now we do so much more. We’ve done so much work since 2009 to be better across all agencies and now it’s time to take it to the next level.
‘All hazards, all agencies’ served us well but we are stepping away from a hazard and agency approach. It helped us bring people together, but our focus has to shift. We are no longer focused on the hazard it is now about the broader community.
The new approach is further enhancing the community centric approach we have come to work under with the community being centre of all decision and focuses on people and broadening the approach to all emergencies.
This is a logical and simple change in the way we approach emergency management. Victorians need to see the community is out absolute focus. It’s the right thing to focus on, and as part of it they need to understand it.
Let’s take the opportunity to make a change in 2016 and set ourselves up for the future and the way we see it should work. You will see this phrase used, you should use it, understand it and explain it to others. We’re going to make sure it underpins planning for new legislation in 2016 and sets up what the future looks like. If we do it in planning it will help us set it up in response and recovery.
fighters up to date on developments within the organisation. It has also given brigades and
firefighters an opportunity to contribute items and make comments on a wide range of