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About CFA Volunteers

Victoria is one of the most fire prone areas in the world.

And with climate change this high risk situation is getting worse – the number and frequency of severe and widespread wildfires is increasing.

Growing urbanisation around Melbourne and our provincial cities with new homes, businesses and schools together with greater road traffic adds to the number of structural fires and road accidents.

Central to Victoria's capacity to cope with these threats around the clock is the volunteer based Country Fire Authority (CFA).

CFA has primary fire and related emergency service responsibility for most of Victoria and its surrounding coast including 60% of Melbourne's suburbs, all of our provincial cities and towns and all of our country areas.

Each year qualified and highly skilled CFA volunteers – men and women – respond to thousands of house and industrial fires, grass fires and bushfires, road and marine accidents, hazardous materials events and a vast array of other emergencies in their community.

Unpaid, CFA volunteers provide Victoria with emergency services valued at nearly $1 Billion each year. In addition to saving lives, CFA Volunteers save untold millions of dollars in property, environment and natural resources across Victoria. They protect local economies from devastation and thereby are a key part of protecting the Victorian economy.

And these figures don't even begin to incorporate the value of CFA volunteers building community capacity for preventing, responding to and recovering from emergencies as part of their own local communities. Nor do they incorporate the contribution of CFA volunteers to local community development whether raising funds for community projects, developing local leadership skills or building community networks for stronger communities.

VFBV wants to build greater awareness, respect and support amongst all levels of government, media and in the wider community for CFA Volunteers and their fundamental and central role in the CFA as an ever more effective volunteer based fire and emergency service for the people of Victoria.

What do CFA Volunteers do?

The CFA's 60,000 dedicated volunteers freely give their time to serve their community.

They train to national professional standards for emergency management and response; practice their craft through regular exercises; build community preparedness for fires and other emergencies; develop, communicate and educate on prevention strategies and initiatives; and, respond to fire and other emergencies. And they help Victorians and local communities recover from the ravages of fire and other disasters.

CFA volunteers are on call around the clock. They are supported and supplemented by 1,300 highly skilled operational and support paid staff of the CFA.

CFA volunteers come from Melbourne's suburbs, provincial cities, local towns, and communities across the state. They work at every level of the organisation from leadership and management to service delivery on the ground. They play a core role in CFA in planning and preparation; developing and implementing prevention strategies; and, delivering operational response, including incident management, to bushfires, structural fires and other emergencies. And they play an important part in helping individuals and communities recover from such disasters.

CFA volunteers are fundamental to the management and delivery of Victoria's emergency system.

For the Future

The challenge for the future is to maintain an effective community based volunteer model of fire and emergency service supported by a highly trained and dedicated operational, training, support and administrative paid staff and a small number of integrated brigades of volunteers and paid fire fighters at strategic locations.

To maintain and further develop this internationally renowned and cost effective system of protecting our State, with its inherent community capacity building advantages, CFA must actively engage its volunteers in strategic and practical leadership; effective planning; and, successful community recruitment and engagement programs. To achieve these outcomes CFA must also grow its investment in its volunteers through support services, recruitment and sustainment programs, accessible quality training, equipment and infrastructure.

And CFA and its volunteers must be effectively supported by Government, Parliament, business and the public.

Respect, recognition and practical support for volunteers and their families for their self sacrifice and the commitment they make to protect our community are key requirements for building and sustaining volunteerism for a safer Victoria.

For some it would seem far easier to just do fire and emergency response with employed staff and be done with it. But that would come at an overwhelming financial, community and operational cost.

And it is only through the current CFA volunteer/integrated model of fire and emergency response in our outer suburbs and in provincial centres that Victoria maintains a sufficient force of trained and experienced volunteers who regularly form wildfire strike teams for service all over the State and interstate when needed.

The needs of the future require that we grow and strengthen the CFA volunteer/integrated model for fire and emergency services.

Since 2000 the partnership of CFA Volunteer Associations with CFA Board and Management has …

Concluded the historic Volunteer Charter with the Victorian Government and CFA which guarantees the right of CFA Volunteers through their Association to be part of the CFA decision making process to represent the views and needs of CFA volunteers across the State. You can download a copy of the Volunteer Charter below.

Finalised a Deed of Agreement in August 2008 to strengthen the implementation of the Volunteer Charter and commit to practical ways of ensuring Charter provisions and aspirations are actively implemented throughout CFA.

Negotiated the $97.5 Million CFA Strategic Resource Initiative with the State Government which saw dramatic increases in funds for volunteer training, trucks and equipment and fire station infrastructure.

Ensured annual budgets meet growing CFA needs as an effective volunteer and community based fire and emergency service including the provision of the new state-wide Emergency Alerting System, new/upgraded fire appliances and fire stations as well as new and improved protective clothing, equipment, training and general support for volunteers.

Helped the State Government establish and manage of the Community Safety Emergency Support Program (CSESP) which has seen millions of dollars injected to support local brigades fundraising to acquire new brigade owned equipment and carry out local fire station improvements.

Secured up to date protective turnout gear for volunteer fire-fighters meeting the best available health, safety and operational standards for structural and wildfire protective clothing.

Designed, developed and deployed new fire fighting vehicles with improved crew protection standards including better spray self protection and foam systems.

Obtained $2million for a new welfare fund under VFBV to provide assistance for CFA Volunteers and their families in times of financial hardship.

Developed and applied new policies including Equal Opportunity, Discipline and Volunteer Code of Conduct to ensure high standards of conduct and professionalism within CFA.

Reached for the future through CFA special youth initiatives including a recent joint Youth Forum which brought young men and women together from all over the State to plan for the future of CFA volunteerism.

VFBV continues to develop better, more effective consultation and engagement between the CFA Board, Management and Volunteers to build an even more effective volunteer and community based CFA.

Read 44855 times Last modified on Friday, 29 July 2016 12:49
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CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.


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