23April2024

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FEM Health Surveillance Program

VFBV supports CFA's new Voluntary FEM (Fire Equipment Maintenance) Health Surveillance program as part of the transition to fluorine free foam (FFF) extinguishers across all appliances, fire stations and through CFA FEM services to the general public.

In late 2019, CFA communicated to all FEM brigades an amended procedure for “Fluorine Free Foam Extinguisher Servicing” via a Bulletin which covered the use and maintenance of foam extinguishers and provided direction to brigades to only use or maintain Fluorine Free Foam Extinguishers moving forward.

Prior to this time, some FEM personnel would have undertaken refilling activities on foam fire extinguishers while extinguishers contained foams with PFAS/PFOS. While Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Service Procedures, FEM Bulletins and Chief Officer Operations Bulletins were designed to protect our people for these maintenance activities, there is still potential that some FEM members may have been exposed to PFAS / PFOS.

CFA is now offering a precautionary, voluntary Health Surveillance Program to ensure that our members have processes in place to support them should they be concerned about exposure to PFAS / PFOS containing foams. Concerned members can register for the program using the FEM Health Surveillance Program Registration Form available from CFA at https://www.members.cfa.vic.gov.au/programs/fire-equipment-maintenance/health-surveillance-program 

If eligible, a medical assessment will be conducted that will comprise of two components; a blood test and a medical examination that will be coordinated by CFA’s contracted medical provider, Modern Medical. Members will have the option to have their medicals completed by their own doctor or by Modern Medical.

ABOUT THE PROGRAM

Not all FEM personnel would necessarily have had contact with PFAS/PFOS or been exposed to an extent that follow-up investigation is needed. The level of exposure depends on an individual's work history. Each submission will be reviewed by CFA's contracted medical provider for decision-making against a set of scientific, purpose-built criteria.

Modern Medical will coordinate this program including all medical assessments, similar to the coordination of the Fiskville Health Surveillance Program.

The Health Surveillance Program will include offering eligible members CFA-funded health assessments through the contracted medical provider, Modern Medical. Health assessments may include a range of blood tests and medical examinations, such as:

  • full blood examination
  • renal function tests
  • liver, lung and renal function tests
  • fasting lipid and glucose profiles
  • PSA serology (males over 50 only)
  • PFAS serology (one-off test only)
  • skin checks
  • neurological reflexes
  • ear, nose and throat examination
  • urinalysis
  • cardiovascular examination
  • abdominal examination
  • respiratory examination
  • family history
  • medical history
  • An individual's duration on the program will depend on the outcome of their assessments and whether it is medically advised for them to continue being assessed annually.

Additional Information

  • Members who attended the Fiskville Training Ground are still eligible to register for the Fiskville Health Surveillance Program.
  • CFA are proactively exploring other cohorts who may have been exposed to PFAS as part of their CFA role to determine whether other groups will be offered targeted health monitoring as a result.

For more information on the program and how to register, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or phone (03) 9262 8687

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