You are here: Home

Spirit of CFA Awards - 2022 Winners

CFA recently held the Spirit of CFA Awards ceremony celebrating winners from the 2020 and 2022 awards.

The two award ceremonies were held together following the cancelation of the 2020 ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions.

The Spirit of CFA Awards recognise outstanding achievements and significant contributions made by CFA members and/or teams to CFA and their communities.

The stories below on the 2022 Spirit of CFA award winners below are republished from CFA News and Media.

To see the stories on the 2020 Sprit of CFA award winners visit this page.

VFBV congratulates all CFA members who have been honoured with a Spirit of CFA award at the recent awards ceremony.

Living the Values Award

Winner: Paul Spinks – Yellingbo Fire Brigade

Highly Commended:  Robert Waters – Montrose Fire Brigade

Commended: Glenn Webster – Daylesford Fire Brigade


Chief Officer Emerging Leader Award

Joint Winners: Katy Millard – Port Campbell Fire Brigade and Kylie Davis – Eaglehawk Fire Brigade


CEO Excellence in Leadership Award

Winner: Emma Conway – District 9 Headquarters


Excellence in Inclusion and Fairness Award

Winner: Ramon Relph – Boronia Fire Brigade  


Excellence in Innovation

Individual Award Winner: Robert Waters – Montrose Fire Brigade

Team Award Winners: Christina Hanger, Lauren Young, Chris Barber, Lisa MacKenzie – Community Engagement Transformation Team


Senior Award

Winner: Ralph Ross – Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade

Highly Commended: Alan Price – Pound Creek Fire Brigade

Commended: Geoff Weedon – Mernda Fire Brigade


Youth Award

Winner: Liam Gallagher – Epping Fire Brigade

Highly Commended: Luke Tyler-Maclean – Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade

Commended: Emma Avery – Mannerim Fire Brigade


Excellence in Partnership Development Award

Team Award Winners: Angela Cook, Kelly Stoner, Ellisa Bourne – Preparing Vulnerable People Project Team  


Excellence in Capability Planning

Individual Award Winner: Nigel Swinn – South East Region

Team Award Winners: Lisa Clinch and Kirsten Dudink – District 6 and District 20 Volunteer Sustainability Team


Excellence in Interagency or Group Co-operation

Team Award Winners: Justin Dally, Rob Van Dorsser, Jake Kociancic – District 12 Headquarters and Hilldene Fire Brigade


Excellence in Community Engagement

Team Award Winners: Amanda Maglaras, Danny Gordon, Peter Stephens – District 5 and 6 Community Education Team

Paul Spinks wins Spirit of CFA Living the Values Gold Award

Paul Spinks from District 13 has won the 2022 Spirit of CFA Living the Values Gold Award in this year’s ceremony.

 Paul is currently Deputy Group Officer of Yarra Valley Group and a volunteer with Yellingbo Fire Brigade. Throughout 2019 and 2020 he has dedicated his time to delivering a safe environment. 

Paul joined CFA when he was 16 years old because one of his friends was a member of the local fire brigade.

“Once one of my friends joined we all decided to join. A bunch of us joined as juniors and this is where I am today, 31 years later,” Paul said.

Paul said it’s a huge honour to win a Spirit of CFA Award, and especially to be nominated by his peers and some other great leaders. 

“Winning this award is an acknowledgement of not just my own work but the great team at Yellingbo, and the work that we’ve been able to do both in the community and emergency response. It’s quite humbling. With all the work that we do as volunteers, this is some great recognition.

“My proudest moment at CFA is to work as a team at Yellingbo to build a station and build a specialist vehicle for Yellingbo rehab. We also have the greatest membership that’s been constant for many years.

“My most memorable time at CFA was receiving my National Medal and being nominated by my brigade to recognise my service and my Life Membership at Yellingbo Fire Brigade. This was a huge honour for myself and my family and it’s something I hold very dear. Another standout moment was the work the team did in the Black Saturday fires.”

Yellingbo Captain Jeremy Hardy nominated Paul for the Award because Paul often took on the role of incident controller where the safety of firefighters and the community were always his priorities.

“Paul is continually looking out for brigade members and the general public’s safety and their wellbeing,” Jeremy said.

One of Paul’s recent roles has been to deliver hot fire training through the CFA live fire training pod program.

“He has been responsible for teaching volunteers how to use and deliver this training to their brigades and he has also committed an incredible amount of time to CFA and his community for over 30 years,” Jeremy said.

Pictured: Paul Spinks

Republished from https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/paul-spinks-wins-spirit-of-cfa-living-the-values-gold-award 


Port Campbell Captain Katy Millard awarded Spirit of CFA Award

Port Campbell Fire Brigade’s Katy Millard is a joint winner of the Chief Officer Emerging Leader Award with Eaglehawk Captain Kylie Davis, presented during this year’s 2022 Spirit of CFA Awards ceremony.  

 According to Katy, the award is recognition that what she's working to accomplish in her local area and the wider CFA community and is also in line with what CFA is aiming to achieve for the organisation.

“Winning this award gives me the confidence and encouragement to continue working to improve CFA for all members, both volunteers and staff, not just women,” Katy said.

“It also serves as a measure for the extra time and effort I put in to working with others to accomplish goals and make CFA a better place to volunteer. Unlike responding to fire calls and turning out, these extra things just can’t be measured.”

Katy said this award also builds on the confidence gained during her time with CFA.

“My journey with CFA started when I was in a cycling group with a member of Timboon brigade,” Katy said. “He saw value in me joining given my previous experience with Victoria Police.”

“After joining, I became aware that despite being encouraged to try new things, I was restricted from doing so because I’m female. I became really frustrated as a result, which had a negative impact on my confidence.

“This was very unfamiliar to me because, when I was a police officer, other officers supported and encouraged female officers.”

While at Timboon Fire Brigade, Katy was nominated for the Building Confident Leaders Program, a leadership program specifically aimed at emerging women leaders in District 6, where she learned to deal with her lack of confidence within CFA.

Using her newly acquired skills a few months into the leadership program, Katy received endorsement by her fellow brigade members by being elected as brigade captain.

Katy says the combination of being nominated for and elected as brigade captain along with the experience of the leadership program, gave her the confidence boost she needed to put her leadership skills to use. This confident leadership didn’t go unnoticed, with Katy then nominated for the CFA Women’s Advisory Council. 

Deputy Chief Officer Rohan Luke, who nominated Katy for the Chief Officer Emerging Leader award said Katy played an active leadership role in the Women’s Advisory Committee as well as local diversity and inclusion initiatives.

“Katy has continued to forge new opportunities to enhance CFA culture through her experience, leadership and her balanced approach to discussion,” DCO Luke said.

“I look forward to her pursuing future opportunities such as district planning committee roles and state-based committees.”

Pictured: Katy Millard

Republished from https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/port-campbell-captain-katy-millard-awarded-spirit-of-cfa-award 



Emerging Leader at Eaglehawk awarded Spirit of CFA honour

A North West CFA Captain has been honoured as one of the first recipients of the Chief Officer Emerging Leader Award at the 2022 Spirit of CFA Awards.

Eaglehawk Captain Kylie Davis was a dual winner of the award alongside Port Campbell Fire Brigade’s Katy Millard.

Captain Davis said it was a great shock when she first heard she was nominated for the award, which acknowledges the importance of fostering future leaders that exemplify innovation and inclusiveness in driving CFA forward into the future.

“It’s an honour to be recognised, but I’m not the only one who does everything,” she said. 

“As a captain, I’m only as good as the brigade management team, our officers and the brigade around me. It makes it a lot easier when you’ve got good members to support you.”

Captain Davis said the Emerging Leader Award is recognition that she is on the right track in her development as a strong leader.

“To me, leadership is not just about standing at the front and directing,” said Captain Davis. 

“It’s also about having a quiet word to someone and seeing if they’re OK, recognising the members who might be quiet achievers as well, and surrounding yourself with a good network of people to run things by when making decisions.”

The Spirit of CFA Awards recognise the outstanding achievements and significant contributions made by CFA staff and volunteers to both the organisation and local communities across the state.

The biennial awards were first held in 2018, with the 2020 event postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and held concurrently with this year’s ceremony.

Acting Chief Officer Gavin Thompson nominated Kylie for the new award and said she has done a wonderful job rebuilding the brigade’s morale and response capability after a difficult period.

“She has led the brigade back to a stable, strong dynamic brigade that is growing in membership,” A/CO Thompson said.

“Kylie should be proud of what she has achieved, and I look forward to watching her continue to shine as a CFA leader.

“CFA is incredibly proud of its volunteers and staff, and it is great to see Kylie along with all our members recognised for their contributions to both our organisation and local communities.”

Pictured: Kylie Davis with Acting Chief Officer Gavin Thompson

Republished from https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/emerging-leader-at-eaglehawk-awarded-spirit-of-cfa-honour 


Excellence in Leadership Award presented to Emma Conway

Commander Emma Conway has been recognised for her exemplary leadership by winning the inaugural CEO Excellence in Leadership award, as part of the biennial Spirit of CFA Awards. 

Acting Deputy Chief Officer Glenn Pröbstl, who nominated Emma for the award, said she was an amazing role model and leader who represents CFA’s values in all the work she does and leads with genuine heart and passion.

“Since achieving the rank of Commander (previously Operations Officer), Emma has devoted her time and energy to assisting members and brigades in South East Region,” Acting DCO Pröbstl said. 

“Emma is a highly respected leader by staff and volunteers alike, who has spent a significant amount of time performing higher duties as Assistant Chief Fire Officer in District 10, where she made significant advancements.

“She is passionate about helping members grow, and devotes her time, expertise, and experience to crucial initiatives like the Captains Peer Mentoring Program and the Commander Development Program.”

Winning this award, according to Emma, means a lot and is significant recognition of her efforts from the organisation she values deeply. 

“CFA is where my heart is. I value the culture, history and meaning deeply,” Emma said.

“I joined CFA after a 12-year career with the Australian Navy. While I thoroughly enjoyed my time in the Navy, it was quite isolating at times with no connection to community.

“CFA epitomises community, with volunteers taking so much from their brigades back into their communities. This was something I wanted to be part of, as connection to the community is so important for me.”

When Emma initially learned she was a finalist for the Excellence in Leadership award, which honours CFA members who exhibit inspirational leadership, she was quite humble.

“It means a great deal to be a finalist for this award, as CFA is where my heart lies,” Emma said.

“Even just being nominated is pretty amazing.” 

Pictured: Emma Conway with CFA CEO Natalie MacDonald

Republished from https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/excellence-in-leadership-award-presented-to-emma-conway 


CFA champion who makes time for everyone

Calm and collected are two of the many words used to describe Boronia Fire Brigade Captain Ramon Relph.

His welcoming manner and respectful and equal treatment of everyone he meets is the reason why Ramon is the 2022 Spirit of CFA Inclusion and Fairness Champion.

Boronia is a diverse brigade with members from all walks of life, different cultural and ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders, professions and trades. Ramon has led the brigade for eight years, two of those as brigade captain.

Sukhi Singh, who is the brigade’s Junior coordinator, said Ramon is like a father figure, always happy to chat, give a hand or just have a cuppa or a beer.

Being the captain involves more than just running the brigade according to Ramon. He’s available 24 hours a day, seven days a week – pretty much whenever his team needs him. He prefers to call his brigade a team rather than members as it’s more inclusive.

“Ramon treats everyone the same. Everyone gets equal respect and fair treatment. He lets every member speak and put their opinions forward during training sessions, at meetings and on calls,” Sukhi said.

“If he doesn’t agree with someone’s opinion, Ramon still encourages them to express their views but takes the time to explain why it’s not workable or possible.”

“The team has a say on everything to do with the brigade. My motto is transparency unless it’s something confidential that I can’t discuss,” Ramon said.

While the team can access the Wellbeing Support Line, the mental health and wellbeing of his brigade members is one of Ramon’s priorities. Members socialise outside the brigade and Ramon believes this helps build team morale. “It's not just the individual but also their family members that are part of the brigade. Socialising outside the brigade reinforces how important families are to the wellbeing and success of the brigade.”

According to Sukhi, “I’ve been on a few strike teams and hardly a day goes by that he doesn’t call in the morning and evening to say g’day and check welfare. He’ll ask, ‘any message you want to pass on to home or do the family need anything while you’re away?’ I mean, how bloody good is that?”

Ramon also provided inspiring leadership to break down and challenge barriers when a junior member came out.

“The member approached me, and at the time, I had no idea how to be part of the conversation,” Sukhi said. “I'd heard of people coming out but never knew anyone in person or ever had to deal with it. Initially, I was overwhelmed but I wanted to handle this without handballing it to someone else. I turned to Ramon for help.”

For Ramon, who works in retail, it was all about having the conversation and ensuring the junior member was able to tell them what they needed from the brigade.

“It was a tough series of conversations and involved many parties including parents, the wellbeing team and even HR. I just made sure the support was there and the avenues of communication were open,” Ramon said.

Ramon has a bigger long-term vision for Boronia especially in the area of diversity. He’s proud of the increased number of women operational members they’ve recruited and the fact the brigade has the capacity to turn out with an all-woman crew. His next challenge is getting a woman into a leadership position – something Boronia brigade has never had.

Pictured: Ramon Relph with CFA Deputy Chair Michelle McLean

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/cfa-champion-who-makes-time-for-everyone 


Montrose Captain recognised for Excellence in Innovation with Spirit of CFA Award

A leader who prioritises his brigade’s wellbeing has been awarded the Excellence in Innovation Spirit of CFA Award in the 2022 ceremony.

Rob Waters, Captain of Montrose Fire Brigade, has spent the last five years developing a strong health and wellbeing program within his brigade with the aim to build the resilience of his members.

Each month, a brigade training session is dedicated to an aspect of wellbeing to help raise awareness and educate among brigade members. Over time this has helped to reduce stigma around mental health, which is a fundamental barrier to seeking help and recovery.

“In 2015 we started going to the gym together and we did that for a couple of years. Then I thought why aren’t we doing this in our fire station? We put in some submissions to have a gymnasium at our station. It doesn’t sound like much to have a gym, but it’s quite significant in a volunteer station.

“A couple of years later I noticed that some of our younger members needed a bit more support and thought we need to expand this.

“Once a month, our training is designed around wellbeing. We invite people from different organisations to teach us about mental health, resilience, clean eating – all sorts of topics.”

Rob said that the high prevalence of mental health challenges in emergency services was a huge driver in developing the program.

“Being a first responder, you’re exposed to higher levels of challenges with mental health. We’re exposed to things that a normal citizen wouldn’t see,” Rob said.

“No one’s immune to mental health issues. It’s not just about seeing something traumatic at an emergency, it can be a range of things that accumulate over time and put pressure on people. It was really important that our brigade management team go that one step further to look after our members.”

While we often focus on physical health, we sometimes forget to put the same emphasis on mental wellbeing, said Rob.

“We put a lot of emphasis on physical training…but without adequate wellbeing, it doesn’t matter. It was really important that we designed something that invested back into us personally.”

Sharing knowledge is a vital aspect of the program. Exposing members to broader thinking from experts has enabled them to have conversations with people from across the sector on this important topic.

“I think the beauty of our brigade is that we support each other and help each other become better people,” Rob said. “Whoever has knowledge that could help others – no matter what area that knowledge is in, it’s so important to share.”

Rob said he was humbled to be nominated for a Spirit of CFA Award.

“It’s a lovely feeling. Being nominated by peers is extremely heart-warming and probably one of the greatest achievements you can have.

“To me, it’s not about winning, the acknowledgement itself is amazing. To see the benefits to our team, that’s the biggest win for me.”

Rob was also awarded Highly Commended for the 2022 Living the Values award, reflecting his long history of exemplifying CFA’s values.

Pictured: Rob Waters with CFA Deputy Chair Michelle McLean

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/montrose-captain-recognised-for-excellence-in-innovation-with-spirit-of-cfa-award 


Spirit of CFA Award for Excellence in Innovation

Our Community Engagement Program Team and Content Team received the Spirit of CFA Excellence in Innovation Award in recognition of the hard work and planning they put into reaching out to our communities during COVID-19.

During restrictions, communities were unable to come together to receive information in the conventional way through community meetings, town halls, or other face-to-face service delivery approaches.

In order to mitigate the risk, the team worked together to rethink CFA's strategy for community participation.

“To do this we had to make significant operational changes to the planning, design, processes and strategies for statewide community involvement,” Senior Engagement Adviser Christina Hanger said.

Christina led several workshops with key stakeholders from across CFA to develop a business case for the implementation of Zoom as a community-facing engagement platform. In close collaboration with the ICT team, the team also developed processes, guidance material, live training and recorded tutorials for CFA’s online Learning Hub.

“This shift to digital engagement ensured the relationship between CFA and community could be maintained – despite lockdowns and disruption to regular face-to-face activities in the community.

“Information relevant to local communities could still be delivered – in an engaging, meaningful and professional way – using attractive resources via a skilled CFA presenter.”

“Had the team not taken the initiative to undertake this program, under significant pressure due to short deadlines, there would have been very limited engagement with communities throughout 2020 to March 2021,” Team Leader of Program Development Paul Harris said.

“This is of significance considering the impact of the 2019-20 Black Summer fires and the growing expectation of communities to be able to access tailored information when they need it – in a format that suits them”.

“This program also ensured CFA had baseline capability to run sessions with community if there was a significant fire. This positioned CFA as the leader in this space, with training resources and advice provided to support capability building efforts of partner emergency services agencies including Emergency Management Victoria.”

Lauren Young, who accepted the award on behalf of the team stated it was a very special occasion.

“I was honoured to attend as a representative of the project team made up of myself, Christina Hanger, Chris Barber and Lisa Mackenzie. But more than that, it was a chance to think back on and thank everyone else who helped the project to be implemented successfully, including the regional coordination staff, front line facilitators, and other HQ teams,” Lauren said.

“It is fantastic to have this work recognised for improving the way we engage our communities in fire safety and preparedness . The award, in my opinion, highlights what CFA can accomplish under trying conditions when we all work together.”

As a result, CFA was able to keep up its participation levels with communities despite the COVID-19 outbreak.

This program will inform ongoing improvement processes to get CFA ready for a hybrid involvement (a mix of online and face-to-face sessions) now that face-to-face engagement activities have resumed.

Congratulations, team. Digital delivery is now the new norm for community participation.

Pictured: Lauren Young with CFA Deputy Chair Michelle McLean

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/spirit-of-cfa-award-for-excellence-in-innovation 


Ralph Ross of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade wins Spirit of CFA Seniors Award

There is no one more deserving of receiving the 2022 Spirit of CFA Seniors Award than Ralph Ross. His accomplishments are numerous and varied.

 He has been a member of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade since 1978, or almost 43 years, and is an active member of the community. He has held officer positions with CFA and has received numerous awards including the National Emergency Medal for the 2009 fires in Victoria and the 40-year CFA service medal. In addition, Ralph will shortly be awarded the National Service Medal to recognise his participation in the NSW and Victoria fires in 2019–20. He will also receive a pin from the Victorian State Government for the 2019–20 fire season.

In the Kallista region, he has responded to 18 fatal motor vehicle collisions, numerous house fires, and numerous local bushfires throughout the years.  Ralph has won numerous accolades throughout the years and letters of support for him speak highly of his leadership, inspiration, and friendship.

His extraordinary expansive knowledge, and his positive outlook are welcome attributes. He does not point out your mistakes by public grandstanding but rather quietly gathers you aside and asks, 'how could it be done better?' says Martin Noonan of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade.

“The inspiration we receive from Ralph comes from his empathic demeanour, sense of humour and his decisiveness under pressure,” Martin said. “If he’s in the front seat in the tanker when turning out, he will calmly chat with the driver and have a bit of a joke, which sets up a calm atmosphere in the cabin. When we alight the tanker at the job, Ralph's method as officer in charge, is directive, sensible and safe. We are safe. There is a job to do.”

For more than 15 years, Ralph has also organised yearly events including the Puffing Billy Fun Run and the Royal Children's Hospital annual appeal. Many people participate in these activities because they are inspired by Ralph to help others.

Ralph said, “carrying out this work is a part of our community, and I am one of many organisers who help ensure that there are enough people there to provide traffic control and other event support.”

Ralph continues to lead, mentor, and advise new members in firefighting operations thanks to his extensive firefighting experience. Ralph shares his ‘tricks of the trade’ with everyone, and these are invaluable because they are not contained in any training handbook. These result in a deeper comprehension of the concept and helps to improve firefighter safety on the ground.

When asked how he feels about receiving this honour, Ralph replied, "Humbled and shocked. I was truly shocked when I received the email informing me that I had been selected as a finalist.

“I was astonished by what I've accomplished and grateful for the recognition, which I didn't anticipate. We all work together to support one another in our tiny brigade and community, and the camaraderie is fantastic.”

His inspiration extends well outside the brigade with his attendance at the inaugural VFBV Youth Forum to help define a process to establish young membership in CFA. Ralph has also assisted the Dandenong Ranges Fire Brigades Group to establish the group's now current field operational vehicle. Many volunteer radio operators from the Ranges Group have received training from this vehicle.

On behalf of CFA and the Members of Kallista-The Patch Fire Brigade, we would like to congratulate Ralph Ross on winning the 2022 Spirit of CFA Award.

Pictured: Ralph Ross with CFA CEO Natalie MacDonald

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/ralph-ross-of-kallista-the-patch-fire-brigade-wins-spirit-of-cfa-seniors-award 


Liam Gallagher has won the 2022 Spirit of CFA – Youth Award

Liam recently completed a master’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management and focused his dissertation on CFA’s challenges in overcoming a decline in volunteer firefighters.

The strategies offered by Liam through his research will be transformational for CFA and will assist in maintaining and growing our volunteer numbers in the face of social, organisational and environmental change.

Liam has also contributed to a research project in North West Region called Youth Voices Research project which focused on how CFA can attract, support, retain and train the younger generation of volunteers.

Liam is a role model for other volunteers and his contribution to his local community goes beyond CFA. Liam is also actively involved in the Whittlesea Reconciliation Group – a community-based committee that meets regularly to discuss issues, opportunities, initiatives and programs that impact Aboriginal people living in the City of Whittlesea.

Liam volunteers with Epping brigade and is an active leader within his brigade undertaking a variety of roles including 4th Lieutenant, training coordinator, communications officer and group delegate.

Liam joined Epping in 2016 after he completed high school. “I was looking to fill a void whilst doing an activity that would have a meaningful impact on the community that I lived in,” Liam said. “I had always seen the local CFA active within my area ever since I was a little kid. Despite having no prior firefighting experience, I decided to sign up, and it was one of the best decisions I have made in my life.

“My proudest achievement in CFA so far was when I was elected as 4th Lieutenant at my brigade. I had only been in the organisation for five years at that point, but the members had faith in me despite my age to elect me as a leader of their brigade.

“It was a very proud moment that was followed by lots of hard work in helping guide the brigade to meet the challenges of being a volunteer fire brigade in the 21st century. However, despite the many challenges the initiatives and outcomes that were achieved whilst I was in the leadership team have placed the brigade in a good position to meet the challenges in our local community.

“I have had many memorable moments with CFA. It’s one of the reasons I have thoroughly enjoyed my journey with the organisation so far. I can’t pinpoint a specific moment but in general its about meeting some of the most kind, caring and selfless people who you would never meet in any other organisation. In particular, the people of Epping brigade display those qualities every day and without their continued support I would not have achieved the level of success needed to win a Spirit of CFA Award. Those relationships will last a lifetime!”

Liam said winning the 2022 Spirit of CFA – Youth Award was an honour and privilege.

“For me it represents the organisation thanking me for my service and all the hard work I have put in, not only in responding to emergencies but in my commitment to my brigade, CFA and the community.

“It is a representation of the many, many hours of hard work and sacrifices that I have made to make the organisation that has given so much to me a better place for all.

“As I continue my journey with CFA, I would like to continue to focus on how the organisation can better position itself to overcome the issues of volunteer decline. With the increasing demand on CFA due to a changing climate, the need for volunteers to perform time-critical emergency response will only grow. I also see myself continuing to be an active firefighter, on the front line serving my community in their time of need.”

Pictured: (left to right) Epping Fire Brigade’s Robert Saitta, Liam Gallagher, Anthony Grubb and Phillip Aiello

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/liam-gallagher-has-won-the-2022-spirit-of-cfa-youth-award 


Excellence in Capability Planning – 2022 Team Award

Succession planning is vital to ensure the ongoing capability of CFA brigades and groups, allowing for the development of members in line with future role demand.  

Lisa Clinch and Kirsten Dudink from North West Region’s Volunteer Sustainability Team led the development of CFA’s Succession Planning Framework. Launched statewide in February 2021, the Framework can be used by all brigades and groups, no matter their size, to support the identification of key areas of succession and assist in the development of prospective leaders. In doing so they can ensure their members are resourced, skilled and have the opportunity to continually learn.     

The Framework includes comprehensive tools and resources to support brigades and individual members to develop a plan for the future. The project originated in North West Region in 2017 where a lack of succession planning to support continuity of leadership was identified as a risk for the region’s brigades. 

Lisa and Kirsten were tasked with identifying the barriers to succession planning. Through their engagement with volunteers, catchment teams and CFA staff across the state they discovered a broader need to develop flexible succession planning resources and tools. Only a small percentage of brigades and groups were succession planning, with most planning being informal due to limited supporting resources. This had the potential to impact operational capability.

What followed was an extensive process of consultation to ensure that the Framework and supporting resources would be flexible, practical, relevant to volunteers and above all easy to use. Designed to empower brigades and groups in their future development, the Framework guides members through six foundational areas for developing leadership and skill capability: Structure Review, Skills Review, Membership and Roles Review, Developing Our Members, Retaining and Recruiting Members and Preparing for Elections.  Brigades can choose one or more of the six areas to work through.  Support to work through the Framework is provided to brigades through volunteer sustainability team members from across the state. 

Lisa and Kirsten’s leadership and commitment to consultation, connection and engagement with members has been vital to the project’s success.  

“We wanted to make sure we really listened to the field and developed resources that were relevant to their specific needs,” Lisa said.

“The framework and associated resources were developed from the ground up alongside the people impacted by succession planning. In this way members could be part of developing the solutions.

“There were a lot of steps along the way. We wanted to take our time and maintain the integrity of the feedback we received so we could ensure any issues raised at the brigade level were addressed in a strategic manner.”

Evaluation of Framework is now underway to ensure the resources are meeting brigade and group needs. The evaluation process is again underpinned by extensive consultation with members across the state and is part of a process of continuous improvement that will ensure the resources are regularly reviewed and updated if required. 

Lisa said both she and Kirsten were excited and proud to receive a Spirit of CFA Award.

“It has and continues to be a privilege to work with volunteers and staff across the state on the development and rollout of the Framework,” Lisa said.

“This award is not just for Kirsten and I. The development of the Framework was a team approach and we would be very proud to accept the award on behalf of the team.

“We have had so much input and feedback from people right across the state. Winning this award is worthy recognition of the contribution of all the volunteers and staff involved in the development of the Framework.”

Pictured: Lisa Clinch with Acting Chief Officer Gavin Thompson

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/excellence-in-capability-planning-2022-team-award 


Successful multi-agency response at a complex incident

The District 12 Leadership Team and a Hilldene Fire Brigade member have won the Excellence in Interagency or Group Cooperation Award in the 2022 Spirit of CFA Awards.

 On 6 December 2020 CFA crews attended a fire at the primary school at the Department of Defence military base in Puckapunyal. The incident was complex because of the location and the number of agencies involved. CFA, Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV), Military Police, Victoria Police, Ambulance Victoria, State Emergency Service (SES), Defence Command and contracted fire services operated by Ventia were all on scene helping to combat the school fire.

District 12 Leadership Team and Hilldene Fire Brigade members in particular were heavily involved in the incident, and thanks to a high level of teamwork and interoperability they were able to save a large portion of the building.

Before the incident occurred, during all stages of the incident and during the recovery stages, the District 12 Leadership Team and Hilldene brigade actively engaged with a range of agencies. CFA members identified that an incident at this site would be complex so a great deal of work went into developing a memorandum of understanding between CFA and the Department of Defence for the Puckapunyal Military Area (PMA). There was a lot of engagement to familiarise the neighbouring brigade, Hilldene, with the site, its processes and personnel.

Throughout the incident, the strong working relationships between the agencies involved, particularly CFA members, Ventia Fire Rescue, Victoria Police, Defence and on-site personnel, significantly contributed to the successful outcome. These relationships were maintained throughout the COVID-19 restrictions and enabled members to work together effectively and efficiently by knowing each other’s roles.

The multi-agency approach worked well within the emergency management team, where there were representatives from Victoria Police, Defence, Department of Education, CFA, FRV, Ventia Fire Rescue, SES and Ambulance Victoria. There is a strong level of trust between CFA and other key stakeholders.

Following the incident, District 12 and Hilldene brigade members actively sought assistance from CFA's Lessons Management Centre (LMC) about how to conduct an after-action review (AAR). This review outlines what went well during the incident and what could have been done better. They worked closely with the LMC and other agencies including Defence and Ventia Fire Rescue to share lessons and contribute to the review. The AAR identified that the strong relationships between all agencies was a significant factor in the successful outcome.

Hilldene brigade 2nd Lieutenant Jake Kociancic is one of the team who won the award. He is also a full-time Defence member and lives on the PMA. He was the incident controller at this fire and played a central role in the firefight.

“The MOU states that CFA will assume incident control of any Class 1 emergency when invited onto the PMA to assist with an emergency event that exceeds the capacity of the Defence resources to control,” Jake said. “It was clear from the outset that CFA was going to end up being the control agency for this incident, so my team and I had to engage with many key stakeholders to get the job done.

“I was lucky to be incident controller that day. A lot of work had been done by the District 12 Ops team and group management team prior to the event. Everything worked very well.

“At a group level, we conduct pre-summer training mostly focused on grass and scrub fire response. Local knowledge and rapid provision of detailed information is also important. The PMA is quite remote in some aspects, so early escalation and effective passage of information is key to a successful firefight.

“It’s a very complex world out here and building and maintaining positive relationships can be very challenging. Districts 02, 22 and 12 all have an input into the memorandum of understanding with Defence. Defence firefighting assets are very capable but limited. CFA simply has access to more resources.”

The winners of this award are District 12 Commander Justin Dally, Hilldene brigade 2nd Lieutenant Jake Kociancic and District 12 ACFO Rob Van Dorsser.

Pictured: Jake Kociancic and Commander Justin Dally with Acting Deputy Chief Officer Glenn Pröbstl

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/successful-multi-agency-response-at-a-complex-incident 


CFA Community Safety Team win Spirit of CFA Award

Members of a CFA community safety team in south-west Victoria have been rewarded for their dedication to protecting their local community as part of this year’s Spirit of CFA Awards.

South West Regional Community Engagement Coordinator Mandy Maglaras and her team won the 2022 Excellence in Community Engagement Award for developing and implementing a comprehensive smoke alarm and house fire safety campaign that delivers practical life safety interventions.

This award recognises CFA members who have worked collaboratively to develop and apply innovative approaches to community engagement.

Following a significant spike in house fire fatalities in South West Region over the past couple of years, Mandy dedicated her time to reinvigorating and developing a new approach to house fire fatality mitigation.

Despite the impacts of COVID-19, Mandy and her team worked with CFA Headquarters to build the program and develop the technical infrastructure to implement it.

Mandy said they established strong partnerships with other volunteer organisations such as Rotary and Lions Clubs to install smoke alarms.

“We also established collaborative partnerships with industry groups such as real estate agents and DHHS and service providers to ensure smoke alarms and fire blankets were installed in the most vulnerable community members’ homes,” Mandy said.

“After seven fatalities that were all deemed preventable across 18 months in 2017-18, I knew more had to be done to help protect people most at risk.

“There was already some great work being done but this project allowed me to expand our resources and build a team to undertake this important work.”

Mandy said since starting this project in May 2019 up until 30 June 2022, they have been able to visit more than 720 homes and installed more than 1,400 smoke alarms.

“Some of these houses had old smoke alarms from 1998 which was frightening to see. The community must check the stickers on their smoke alarms and replace the whole unit if it’s more than 10 years old,” Mandy said.

“It was devastating to see 130 homes had no smoke alarms installed at all and more than 290 smoke alarms were not working.

“A lot of people can’t physically or financially do this themselves so we have to help them, and that’s what we’re now doing.”

As a result of Mandy’s successful project this program is going to be rolled out across the state.

“It’s such a rewarding role knowing what we do is making a huge difference,” Mandy said.

Mandy said she had mixed emotions when finding out she and her team won the Spirit of CFA Award.

“It’s my job to help save lives but I also know I can’t do this without the incredible group of people around me,” Mandy said.

“It takes an army of CFA members and volunteers from other organisations who are passionate about this like I am to help deliver this program and I’m very grateful to have them.”

Pictured: Mandy Maglaras with Acting Deputy Chief Officer Glenn Pröbstl

Republished from: https://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/cfa-community-safety-team-win-spirit-of-cfa-award 


Read 5661 times Last modified on Tuesday, 02 August 2022 11:17
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.