14April2024

You are here: Home HomePage Featured
HomePage Featured

HomePage Featured (424)

Wednesday, 07 February 2024 11:53

Feedback Requested - Standard Operating Procedures (FMR)

Written by

Formal consultation has commenced on a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) that has been developed to cover Fire Medical Response. (FMR)

The proposed draft SOP is available for download from the bottom of this page.

 

Feedback is welcome from any volunteer, but we are especially keen to hear from volunteers from planned FMR brigades, as well as those who have had prior experience with the CFA EMR program.

 

Members are encouraged to review the revised SOP and provide any feedback/suggestions/amendments including indicating support/non-support for the proposed procedure.

Feedback can be provided by individuals, brigades and groups.  

All feedback is used to inform and influence formal VFBV positions as well as used to influence CFA positions and thinking during the deliberative process. If we need to use your feedback to demonstrate or illustrate the views of members, your personal details will not be shared with CFA, and feedback will always be de-identified to protect your privacy.

We encourage members not to wait until deadlines to provide feedback, but rather provide it as early as possible which will give us a chance to conduct further research that may assist us being able to advocate more strongly for your desired outcome.

Feedback is sought as soon as possible, and we encourage members to respond ASAP.

 All members are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback. If you have any questions, please contact your local State Councilor or VFBV Support Officer in the first instance.

 


 

How to provide feedback:

It would be preferred that members provide feedback ASAP, so that it can be received incrementally, allowing us enough time to consolidate, identify trends and research issues raised by members. 

Feedback can be provided via:

  1. Emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  2. Your local VFBV District Council or your local VFBV Support Officer

  3. By Post: 9/24 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East VIC 3151

  4. By Fax: (03) 9886 1618

  5. For those that prefer to answer a survey to provide feedback, a survey has been developed: https://survey.zohopublic.com.au/zs/0RCd4b 

     

Feedback does not need to be long or detailed, but if you do have the time to make substantive comment that is always welcome.

If you generally support a principle or policy, then a quick note letting us know would also be helpful. Similarly, let us know if you do not support it, or which aspects of it you don't support.

Where indicating non-support, it would be helpful to understand the key reasons why, and even a couple of brief bullet points would be adequate. Likewise, if you would prefer to provide a more detailed response, or mark-up and suggest changes to the documents, that is welcome also.

Your feedback will assist us form a VFBV position and response to the proposed changes and help us advocate on behalf of CFA volunteers. Please consider getting involved, and providing us your feedback ASAP.

Please remember to provide feedback in support as well as against. If we only hear from those who are against, it can be harder to determine the general comfort level of members with the proposals.

Monday, 29 January 2024 14:59

Australia Day Honours List 2024

Written by

VFBV extends congratulations to four CFA members who were awarded the prestigious Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) on Australia for their service to CFA and the wider Victorian Community.

Paula Grosveld AFSM – Paula has been a CFA volunteer with the Golden Beach brigade since 1987 and has held many roles including Deputy Group Officer, Group Secretary and volunteer trainer and assessor and is currently serving her 18th year as Captain of the Golden Beach Fire Brigade.  As a trusted peer and mentor to fellow captains, group officers and members throughout Victoria, Paula has been recognised for her tenacity and selflessness in driving sustainable growth of young and emerging leaders throughout CFA. You can read more about Paula here

Ross Sullivan AFSM  - Ross has been a CFA member for more than 45 years, first joining the Bolinda and Monegeeta brigade as a member of their Junior running team before officially joining CFA as a volunteer in 1978.  As the current Deputy Chief Officer North East Region Ross has lead the region through major the 2019-20 fires and the October 2022 floods and has been commended for his leadership as well as establishing a process for rehabilitation and repair of areas damaged by firefighting activity. You can read more about Ross here.

Bill Johnstone AFSM – Bill started his service as firefighter as a junior member with the Gisborne brigade in 1977 and since then has spent time as a firefighter with the Australian Aviation Rescue Fire Fighting Service (ARFFS) in Cairns before returning to Victoria and joining CFA’s career ranks in 2000.  During his time with CFA he has worked extensively in operational management in various roles including operations officer, manager and in his current role of Assistant Chief Fire Officer-Regional Commander for the North West Region.  You can read more about Bill here

John Katakouzinos AFSM – John joined CFA as a volunteer firefighter in 1991 with the Springvale brigade before becoming a career firefighter in March 1999 and currently holds the role of CFA Commander - Aviation.  John has been an operational firefighter across many parts of Victoria and has been a leader and mentor who consistently looks for ways to improve firefighting and community safety trough innovation, particularly in the field of fire service aviation and rescue.  He led the research, design, development and delivery of a fire aviation flight simulator for Victorian agencies which was one of the first of its kind in Australia. You can read more about John here.

VFBV also congratulates Kathryn Gosby AFSM and Stephen Grant AFSM from the Department of Energy, Environment and Climate Action (DEECA) and Costa Katsikis AFSM and Damien O’Toole AFSM who were also awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal on Australia Day.

Also among the 1,033 recipients of awards on Australia Day were a number of past and present CFA members who received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM). VFBV congratulates Kaye Blackburn, Brian Keena, John Nihill, Jeffrey Robinson, Ian Thomson, Maria Cameron, Lindsay Tharle, Lavina Tharle and Bruce Wilson.


Nominations for AFSM's

Nominations for AFSM's are accepted at any time through CFA's Honours and Awards Committee. 

The AFSM honours the distinguished service of members of fire services who make an exceptionable contribution to their communities. The AFSM recognises those whose service is above and beyond the normal zealous and faithful discharge of normal or ordinary service, either in the short or long term.

CFA volunteers are often modest and reluctant to seek out recognition for the service they have provided to their community and may not have a realistic appreciation of the impact they have had on CFA, their community, within VFBV or your Brigade or Group. They’re not in it for the honour or glory, but it’s up to each of us to ensure we take the time to say ‘thank-you’ to those people who have stepped up and help inspire us all to do better.

If you know a quiet achiever who has contributed to CFA, who goes above and beyond what could be reasonably expected of someone in a similar position, please consider nominating them for an AFSM.  

The Australian Honours system has been designed to break down artificial barriers and open the Australian Honours to all parts of our society. Any member of the community can nominate any other Australian citizen for an award.

It is also critically important we encourage nominations for groups who are typically under-represented in Australian Honours like the AFSM. In particular we are encouraging a greater gender mix.

Women in particular are under-represented in AFSM’s awarded when we consider the thousands of women within the fire services across the country. And while things are improving, much more can be done.

There are so many exceptional CFA women and men deserving to be recognised, so please consider nominating someone you feel is deserving.

A common misconception is that only those members who have decades worth of service are recognised by the Honours system. The AFSM is not a long-service award, its sole criterion is distinguished service. And while prolonged service forms part of the key criteria, ‘prolonged’ is considered by the honour and awards committee’s to be taken in context as to what is considered ‘longer than usual’ and in context of what is ‘above and beyond’ the normal or ordinary service expected. Exceptional service that is sustained over a period of time can be considered as satisfying the criteria. For example, has the members contribution been in excess of expectations for a ‘normal’ member and over what duration? The Committee will consider the nature of the service or achievement within the context of a member’s service history when weighing up the various criteria.

This is especially important for women within CFA who may have their service overlooked simply because they haven’t been a Captain or Group Officer for 30+ years. While these are important leadership roles – our service is a team environment, and everyone’s contribution is valued.

Nothing should take away from the incredible achievement decade long service is, but the Honours system is designed to recognise those that make a significant contribution, and to represent the things that our communities believe to be deserving of recognition, including from those who are perhaps trailblazers for others to follow. Think of those people who have pushed the boundaries or have been first to reach and hold leadership positions that has been inspirational to those around them. For example, think of members who have overcome additional barriers, like English not being their first language and who have toiled away to learn the language and become masterful communicators designing new innovative community safety engagements to CALD communities and serving as a role model for other community members. Who are the people you look up to? Who are the people who have really made a difference in your Brigade or Group? 

Distinguished service includes service that is above and beyond and can be short-term or prolonged. It is service that can be exemplified by; responsibility for an outstanding event that has proven to be of significant benefit to the fire service or community; development of a new system, procedure or technique that is unique and made a significant contribution to the fire service; or outstanding leadership in the encouragement and development of others, particularly youth within the fire services.

While it can seem daunting to nominate a potential recipient, some guiding principles that could assist in completing a nomination for an AFSM are:

- In what role(s) has the nominee excelled?
- How has the nominee demonstrated service worthy of recognition?
- How has the nominee’s contribution affected a particular field, locality, brigade, group or community at large?
- Over what period has the nominee made a major commitment?
- Has the nominee’s contribution been recognised elsewhere?
- What makes this person stand out from others?
- What specific examples can be provided to show how the nominee’s contribution(s) have been outstanding?

Nominations for awards are strictly confidential. The person being nominated should not be approached for information or advised of the confidential nomination at any stage of the process.

 

Additional Resources to Assist

Honours and Awards Toolkit

Guide to Preparing Nominations for the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM)

AFSM Nomination Form

Want to discuss a potential nomination or need some more information? Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.    


About the Australian Fire Service Medal 

Introduced in 1988, the Australian Fire Service Medal recognised distinguished service by members of Australian fire services and is awarded to both volunteer and paid members. The award recognised the distinguished service by members of a State or Territory Fire Service, a Fire Service of an agency of the Commonwealth, and the Fire Services of the External Territories of Christmas Island, Cocos (Keeling Island) and Norfolk Island.

The medal is awarded twice a year as part of the Australia Day award and King's Birthday award announcements.

 

Criteria for the Australian Fire Service Medal 

To be considered for this award it would be expected that the nominee has given service beyond the norm exemplified by:

  1. Prolonged service distinguished by exceptional performance in a particular area that has proved significant benefit to the fire service; and one or more of the following.
  2. Responsibility for and management of an outstanding/exceptional event that has proven to be of significant benefit to the fire service, a community or community safety generally. 
  3. Development of a new system, or procedure, or technique that is unique and has made a significant contribution to the fire service, a community or community safety generally. 
  4. Outstanding leadership in the encouragement and development of others, particularly youth, within the fire service and the fostering and furthering of the aims of the fire service to the long-term benefit of the fire service and the community. 
  5. Demonstrated creativity in the development and implementation of innovative changes that have made a significant contribution to the fire service, fire/emergency operations, or the interests of community safety.
Monday, 15 January 2024 15:43

January 2024 Newsletter

Written by

What’s in store for 2024? 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer 

My inspiration for this year is a quote from English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. “I have noticed that even people who claim everything is predetermined and that we can do nothing to change it, look before they cross the road.”

The point being, while there are still many questionable policy remnants that will continue to negatively influence the coming year, they are not written in stone. And yes, while there are elements that are written in legislation, legislation can be changed. It just requires a willing hand and some political will.

To temper expectations, I can’t claim to hold an abundance of optimism that this will in fact occur over the next 12 months, but I firmly believe that one cannot remain perpetually unswayed by the glaring and mounting evidence that is piling up over the short sightedness and inappropriateness of some current policy settings.

Take the CFA/FRV secondment arrangements as a case in point. And while I could never grasp how anyone in their right mind could have thought that those arrangements would ever work - even discounting brash optimism, rose tinted glasses and questionable political goals, one cannot brush away the stench of a policy that is simply not fit for purpose and proving itself so.

Reviewing the fire services implementation monitor’s (FSIM) third annual report which was quietly tabled in Parliament on 29 November, one cannot escape the polite, but nonetheless scathing assessment of the secondment agreement which is at the core of the government’s fire services reforms. The FSIM diligently maps out each of the intersections of the secondment agreement and the resulting incapacity of the CFA to manage its own seconded workforce. Given the cost of these services (approximately $64M), it should send a shiver down the spines of Victoria’s legislators that CFA faces significant and documented legislative barriers that routinely limits CFA’s ability to “be apprised of, investigate, and resolve matters relating to performance, occupational health and safety or disciplinary issues relating to personnel working in CFA in a seconded role.”

Shame on those who did not heed our warnings and advice that this was exactly what was going to occur and be the outcomes of rushed and politically motivated reforms.

FSIM then describes the ludicrous agreed consultation workflow between CFA and FRV, noting that any decisions or proposals are required to be agreed to between FRV and its industrial body first, describing the impacts of a policy setting that languishes from complete paralysis and stone walling. These industrial arrangements do not exist in any other emergency service across the whole of Australia, and for good reason.

Given the government claimed these arrangements would magically solve all industrial disquiet and dispute, one cannot help but observe the complete insincerity those statements appear in hindsight.

The FSIM further observes that while the secondment agreement provided for a review of the operation and effectiveness of the secondment arrangements by 31 October 2021, no such review has been initiated, which is markedly telling of the current political will to sort these arrangements out.

And to finish where I started, am I feeling optimistic that great progress will be made to addressing these fundamental legislative barriers? No, but a new Premier and a refreshed cabinet does provide a face-saving opportunity to set some wrongs right and ensure the Victorian public and volunteer firefighters alike are served by fit for purpose legislation.

The alternative is to squander the opportunity and be publicly lambasted by a future Royal Commission that will no doubt go through the mounting evidence that will expose the rabid political interference that has thwarted and hamstrung one of Australia’s largest and most respected volunteer fire services.

CFA Budget

We continue to monitor budgetary developments closely and were disappointed to learn that government have finally advised CFA of its base funding for the current financial year, announcing it to be $310.43 million. This represents a further $3 million cut to CFA base funding, and now requires the CFA executive to find efficiencies and savings over the next six months.

This cut also masks the additional cut in real terms that comes from increased costs like wages and conditions flowing from recently agreed industrial bargaining arrangements. And while few would begrudge dedicated and loyal CFA personnel from receiving annual increases to address cost of living pressures, the fact that budgets are not increasing to CFA base funding to cover these additional costs means any increases in expenses have to be absorbed by cuts elsewhere.

I fear many of these cuts will come from reduced staff numbers, as this is the only discretionary cost within CFA’s full control.

VFBV has put both government and CFA on notice that any cuts that affect volunteers and front-line service delivery will be documented and raised by whatever means necessary to apply maximum political pressure and ensure the public is aware of what is being done to their emergency services to pay for other follies.

In further news, the government has created an Emergency Services Organisation Finance Board made up of bureaucrats from three government departments including Premier and Cabinet to act as a razor gang of sorts to identify further savings into the future.

All at a time when Victorian’s are relying on their emergency services more often and for increasing more frequent, severe and simultaneous natural disasters and other emergencies driven by population growth and our changing climate.

We will keep brigades appraised of developments and will need your assistance in demanding that governments live up to their promises of supporting and backing Victoria’s selfless emergency service volunteers. Statements of “record funding” are as absurd as they are false, especially when reviewing the ever-decreasing sustainability of CFA’s fleet funding over recent years.

The reality of their support appears very different to the endless quotes and platitudes delivered by our politicians during active emergencies and will require volunteers to call it out.

QLD Floods

On Christmas eve we received a request from QLD for 100 emergency service personnel to be deployed to QLD to assist them with their flood recovery operations.

Twenty teams of four were deployed on 30 December comprising 40 CFA volunteers and 40 SES volunteers equipped with working from heights and chainsaw qualifications. CFA, SES and FFMVic supplied the remaining incident management team and liaison positions.

Given more than 500 CFA volunteer firefighters had only just returned from supporting Queensland’s fire season, these incidents demonstrate the increased demand for our professionally trained volunteers, and the increased occurrences of CFA supporting our SES colleagues with storm and flood, not only at home but interstate.

The fact these weather events are increasingly intersecting with fire season activity should sound the alarm of the critical need to ensure each of our volunteer emergency services are well resourced and supported to ensure they can continue to come to our communities’ aid in times of disaster.

Challenges ahead

Needless to say, I think we are going to have a challenging year ahead, but one I feel we are well prepared for. A little bit like that saying that the strongest steel is forged from fire and being repeatedly struck, I hold the same confidence in our volunteers and our association.

Because we are used to working in emergencies, we are well equipped to face a dynamic ever-changing environment. In my experience, we not only rise to meet the challenge, but usually surpass all expectations. People underestimate us at their peril.

In this vein and in an effort to try and finish on a positive note, I am somewhat buoyed by the increased volunteer participation in our feedback requests and mechanisms. In recent times we have had a number of items out for broader consultation that have elicited significant feedback and comment. And while more controversial changes tend to illicit higher amounts of feedback, I have been really impressed with the depth of feedback and the seriousness in how people have reviewed proposed changes. Blunt yes, but no doubt sincere.

It’s easy to hate as they say, but I continue to be humbled by the respectful and well thought out positions and oppositions to what can sometimes be a complex interplay between various CFA proposed policies, procedures and our volunteer culture.

Know that when you provide this feedback through VFBV channels it is treated with respect and confidentiality and significantly influences VFBV’s advocacy.

Please keep it coming. We’ll continue to develop short surveys on specific changes or policies to assist people provide feedback. It really helps us improve CFA policy, and the more voices the more powerful the weight of our argument. And the more detailed your feedback, the better it equips us to navigate any pushback from on high.

But don’t be discouraged if you don’t want to write pages and pages of feedback. Your questions, simple markup, or even a comment or two can provide really helpful insights.

Don’t forget that our current annual vol survey is open, and will be closing shortly. This is the most simple and most effective way of letting us know what is working and what isn’t. So, if you haven’t yet completed it, please pop over to www.vfbv.com.au/cfa or use the QR code below. You can even ask us for a paper version should you wish and we’ll post one out to you.

Your association is only as strong as your contribution to it, so please help us help you and get involved today. With choppy financial winds on the horizon, I have a feeling we are going to need each other more than ever before.


 

Survey last chance

This year’s VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey will shortly close.

The survey is an annual snapshot of volunteer opinion, using questions on issues chosen by CFA volunteers. All responses are confidential, but de-identified results go straight to decision makers. Help us make a difference.

The survey measures volunteer opinions on what is important to them and how well CFA is performing according to what they are experiencing, the gap between the measurement of importance and performance is referred to as the Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Level (VolWEL) outcome.

Scan the QR code below, or visit the VFBV website to do the survey. Paper copies are also available by calling (03) 9886 1141.

 

SOP Reminder 

We are seeking feedback on revisions to six Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) covering Driving.

These SOP’s include: 12.01 Driving or Travelling in CFA and ESO Vehicles; 12.04 Collisions involving CFA Vehicles; 12.05 Safely Recover Disabled CFA Vehicles; 12.06 Non CFA Members in CFA Vehicles; 12.07 CFA Members Driving Private Vehicles; 12.08 Driver Endorsement. Copies of the revised SOP’s are available from the VFBV website.

To assist members in providing feedback, short feedback survey’s have been developed for the two SOP’s with the most significant changes:

SOP 12.01 – Driving or Travelling in CFA and ESO vehicles

SOP 12.08 – Driver Endorsement

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

Feedback can be provided by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via your local VFBV District Council or Support Officer.

 

Unreasonable Complaints Policy

We are seeking feedback on a draft policy proposed by CFA to deal with unreasonable complaints.

CFA advises that unreasonable complaints, while a very small proportion of the total number of complaints, might be directed towards any CFA member (either staff member or volunteer) and arise from several sources (staff member, volunteer, a former member or members of the public) depending on the nature of the issue and area of CFA’s operations.

CFA is seeking to ensure that there is a clear framework in place for defining and managing those circumstances in which a compliant might be considered ‘unreasonable’ that can be clearly communicated to members and the public while also ensuring that it is applied consistently across CFA.

VFBV is seeking broad feedback and comment from volunteers in order to inform and assist with VFBV formal responses to this draft policy. VFBV District Councils have also been invited to lead local discussion at the District level.

 

2024 State Champs
A reminder that entries and judge and official nominations are now open for the 2024 State Championships to be held in Mooroopna in March and will close on Sunday 18 February.

The State Championships will kick off with the Urban Juniors competing on the weekend of 16 and 17 March. The following weekend, 23 and 24 March, will see competition for the Rural Senior and Junior and Urban Senior Championships take place.

The evening of Saturday 23 March will again see the popular Torchlight Procession take place. Entry in this is open to all brigades competing in the Urban Senior and Rural Championships as well as brigades who are not competing at the State Championships. If your brigade is interested in taking part in the Torchlight Procession as a non-competing brigade please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

To enter your team or nominate as a judge or official for any of the four state championships visit the VFBV website.

The VFBV website also has information for competing brigades, dates of local competitions in the lead up to the State Championships and copies of the updated rule books for both the urban and rural championships.

If you want any more information about the 2024 State Championships contact the VFBV office via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (03) 9886 1141 for more information.

 

 

Presumptive Legislation 
In addition to primary site cervical, ovarian and uterine cancer, VFBV is pursuing the further expansion of the scheme to pick up the remaining six cancers that were added to the Commonwealth’s scheme being primary site lung, skin, penile, pancreatic and thyroid cancers and malignant mesothelioma.

VFBV is calling on the Victorian Government to align its scheme to ensure Victorian firefighters enjoy the same protections and support as their federal counterparts.

We have published a national overview table on our website that allows members to compare each of the presumptive schemes in operation across the country. As you will see, Victoria is falling behind other jurisdictions.

VFBV is seeking the support of all government, opposition and minor party MPs including independents to support the amendments introduced by the Greens, that would see Victoria’s scheme expanded to the same 21 cancers that the Tasmanian government has introduced.

 

Vols on Hols
Mallacoota has been chosen as the trial site for a CFA pilot program called “Vols on Hols” aimed to encourage CFA volunteers who are on holidays and travelling during summer and staying in the area to consider signing up as a co-responder with Mallacoota Fire Brigade.

Mallacoota is a small and remote coastal destination in far East Gippsland that is roughly halfway between Melbourne and Sydney when travelling via the Princes Highway. The town significantly increases in population over summer with an influx of up to 10,000 visitors during peak season.

The pilot program is for operational responders and members who have skills in community education and engagement. Interested members are requested to provide an Expression of Interest. The application is then reviewed, and the member is sent a welcome letter and contacted by the Brigade Captain who will inform the next steps to introduce and induct the visiting member into the brigade.

The brigade is welcoming vols on holidays with open arms and is keen to hear from anyone planning a visit to the area over summer. For more information you can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call D11 Headquarters on 03 5153 7400.

 

Fire Wise – January 2024 online only edition

The January 2024 edition of Fire Wise has been published online only, this edition and past editions are available from the Fire Wise website.

You can support Fire Wise and the role it plays as an independent voice in keeping volunteers informed by becoming a subscriber. To become a subscriber visit the Fire Wise website or contact the Managing Editor of Fire Wise, Gordon Rippon-King either by phone 0402 051 412 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

 

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
Now Open – 2023 VFBV Volunteer Survey

Open for Consultation Dashboard

Feedback requested – Unreasonable complaints policy

Feedback requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Driving)

2024 State Championships – Entries Now Open

Presumptive Legislation Update

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

NSW in the line of duty deaths 

Saturday, 23 December 2023 15:21

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Written by

On behalf of VFBV, we wish all members, friends and supporters a very happy and safe Christmas and New Year.

CFA volunteers work tirelessly to support and protect their communities prevent and suppress fires and other emergencies. We take this opportunity to thank each and every one of our CFA Volunteers for the tremendous work they do in protecting our communities.

To all our volunteer firefighter's on the front line, and to the thousands of others who support in our communities or behind the scenes, well done and thank-you for your incredible contribution year after year.

This year, CFA volunteers have not only protected Victoria, they have travelled interstate to assisit QLD, NT, WA and NSW with their fire seasons. This is CFA's volunteer surge capacity in action and its protection is critical for the safety of all Victorian's.

To the families, employers and supporters of CFA volunteers we say thank you. Your support is crucial to the work our members do in protecting Victorian communities from fire and building safe and resilient communities, 365 days of the year.

May everyone have a safe and Happy Christmas.

Stay safe over the holiday season, and please look out for one another.

Friday, 15 December 2023 16:28

NSW in the line of duty deaths

Written by

VFBV is saddened to hear of the loss of two New South Wales firefighters in the line of duty on Tuesday 12 December.

RFS Group Captain Dale Bowles suffered a medical episode while responding to a car fire in the Moama area on Tuesday afternoon.  Dale had been a member of the RFS since 2015 and prior to that had an extensive career with CFA.

Michael Kidd lost his life while responding to a house fire at Grose Vale, north west of Sydney with Fire and Rescue NSW on Tuesday morning.  Michael had been a member of Fire and Rescue NSW since 2010 and a volunteer with the NSW Rural Fire Service since 1989.

Our thoughts and our deepest condolences are with the families, friends, loved ones and colleagues of both Dale and Michael.

On behalf of VFBV, CFA volunteers and all members we express our heartfelt sorrow and pass on our thoughts and prayers.  We mourn alongside both Fire and Rescue NSW and the NSW Rural Fire Service during this sad time.  

Adam Barnett
Chief Executive Officer, Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria

 

CFA WELLBEING SUPPORT LINE

1800 959 232

Providing CFA members and their immediate family access to 24 hour support 7 days a week.

Psychologists – Counsellors – Peer Support - Chaplains

 

Monday, 04 December 2023 16:08

December 2023 Newsletter

Written by

To Queensland and back again 
By Adam Barnett, VFBV Chief Executive Officer 

As another year comes to a close, we again see the value and importance of Victoria’s volunteer surge capacity in action. Over the last couple of months, CFA has provided significant support and resources to Queensland, Northern Territory and NSW with all having experienced significant spring fire seasons. All the while responding to our own busy spring. The lack of government investment to actually support and grow, let alone maintain this volunteer capacity, will leave a very dark stain on this government’s legacy.

Due to the fire conditions experienced in NSW requiring their own resources, Victoria has provided the bulk of support to QLD, with more than 540 CFA members being deployed to support firefighting operations over the last couple of months. More than 85% of those resources were in the form of strike team deployments, with 60 volunteers alone contributing to the mammoth logistical exercise of driving our CFA tankers all the way up into Queensland and home again.

To put the CFA contribution into context, CFA accounted for 93% of the entire Victorian contribution to the QLD deployments, including providing two-thirds of the IMT resources.

The professionalism of crews has been outstanding, and I wish to pass on the very high praise received from the QLD authorities and communities which were so grateful to receive our trucks and firefighters in their hours of need. All deployed members have done us proud, and we cannot forget the thousands of additional members at group and brigade level who coordinated deployment rosters and the like, and those that remained available to respond locally in order for these deployments to be possible.

And while not without blemish, campaign logistics overall have been relatively smooth and well received by members. Thank-you to those who have provided feedback on their deployments.

Following our own share of fire activity during spring, we are now as at writing, experiencing a significant rain event across Victoria, with members now responding to localised flooding. And while these rains provide a short reprieve from this year’s fire season, experience tells us that the accelerated growth of fine fuels that will result from these downpours will need to be carefully watched in the warmer and drier months approaching. Early summer rains are not unusual, and while public perception will likely dampen, we need to remain vigilant as we approach the fire danger period.

In a sign of elevated preparedness at the local level, I wish to congratulate all those brigades that have completed this year’s pre-season preparedness work, including the Chief Officer’s mandatory requirements. Our delegates to our Operations Joint Committees were pleased to observe an increase across the board of the number of brigades having completed their requirements which is trending ahead of last year, with more than 16,000 volunteers having already completed their burn over drills and tree hazard awareness in preparation for the FDP. Well done and keep it up. If you have yet to complete your annual skills maintenance, I encourage you to get it in before summer proper returns with a vengeance.

Vale

We were deeply saddened to learn of the tragic in the line of duty death of NSW volunteer Captain Leo Fransen, of the NSW Diamond Beach Rural Fire Brigade. Captain Fransen was tragically struck by a tree whilst fighting the Hudson Fire in northern NSW on the 16th November.

His crew members immediately provided initial treatment until the arrival of paramedics. Captain Fransen was part of a RFS strike team that had been sent to the area from the NSW mid-coast and were on their first day of deployment. The crews were battling the fire in and around the small mining community of Glengarry.

I have passed on our heartfelt condolences on behalf of all CFA volunteers to NSW RFS. We express our deepest sorrow to Captain Fransen’s brigade, and his family including wife Margaret, daughter Julia, son Paul and his extended family and fellow peers across the fire service. We mourn alongside them and stand in solidarity with all our fellow RFS volunteers across NSW during this sad time.

Vol Survey

If you haven’t yet completed this years vol survey, could I please urge you to do so ASAP. The annual survey is one of the single more effective ways for your voice to contribute to making CFA a better place to volunteer. Thousands of voices lend real weight to the issues raised, and our ability to track volunteer morale and sentiment on key areas chosen by volunteers makes a real difference.

When I speak to volunteers who have not done the survey, many tell me they think it makes no difference and believe CFA just ignore us anyway. Let me assure you this could not be further from the truth. And while progress is far slower than anyone would like, those who have been in emergency services for a while will tell you, it takes great persistence and strong advocacy to affect change.

Rather than give up because it’s hard, we are simply driven to push and try twice as hard to move the needle. This is why we need your help, and more voices add credibility and weight to the results. It only takes 10 minutes, but its effects can last for years, so please consider doing it right now while its fresh in your mind. Use the QR code below, or visit vfbv.com.au/cfa   

Flood Inquiry

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the 2022 Flood Event in Victoria is continuing with public hearings. You can view extracts of those hearings by visiting the inquiries page on the Parliament of Victoria website.

The emotional and passionate stories from those affected by the floods is both moving and humbling.

We are monitoring the inquiries progress closely. VFBV submitted a comprehensive submission to the inquiry covering the areas of greatest concern to CFA volunteers.

I was distraught to review the hearing featuring representatives from EMV, SES and the Department of Justice and Community Safety, who batted off questions regarding the lack of interagency after action reviews and the disbandment of the volunteer consultative forum with weasel words and empty rhetoric better found on a hallmark card.

If their answers truly represent the level of respect for the views and opinions of volunteer first responders who provide the overwhelming majority of the workforce in battling natural disasters and other emergencies across Victoria, then no wonder volunteer morale is what it is.

To hear EMV brush off the need for an interagency after-action review by claiming they have a “real time monitoring evaluation” system in place is beyond comical. To then throw SES under the bus by then claiming that due to the fact SES was the lead agency it was SES’s responsibility to lead a multiagency AAR, is frankly so far beyond the pale it is incredulous to think anyone would take it seriously.

SES’s response wasn’t much better, but we can at least be sympathetic to the argument that campaign fatigue from any agency that was overwhelmed during a long flood and storm campaign is understandable. Leaving the decision to run a review to the responsible agency smacks of coverup.

Thankfully, it was clear many of the MPs sitting on the Flood Inquiry Committee didn’t buy the dog and pony show either. They were likely heavily influenced by the almost universal criticism from councils, volunteer first responders and non-response agencies who voiced concerns at public hearings. I think MP Wendy Lovell put it best when she said “this will be the first major emergency event in my 21 years in Parliament that I have not seen a multiagency review”. MP Melina Bath was also spot on when she met EMV’s claim about how much they valued the volunteer consultative forum, rebuking that assertion with absolute scepticism asking then why did they abolish it? Yes, actions do speak louder than words.

One only needs to review the government’s submission that claims EMV was created to achieve “efficient governance arrangements that clarify roles and responsibilities, embed cooperation across agencies, and ensure emergency management reform is coordinated across the sector” to appreciate how far it has walked away from its coordinating role.

No one is listening to assurances coming from a government bureaucracy that refuses to engage directly with volunteer first responders and their peak bodies and is more interested in pumping out brochures and media statements than actually supporting, empowering and encouraging its frontline volunteer workforce.

The VFBV Board and State Council have reviewed the sector’s recent approach to engaging in genuine after-action reviews and determined they do not encourage nor facilitate genuine feedback from those on the front line. In conclusion, we have little confidence the sector will prioritise or make genuine attempts to fix it, as it is clear they are not interested in anything that might actually implement some accountability for how volunteers are treated.

With this in mind, VFBV will undertake developing its own volunteer “real time” monitoring systems to support our first responders in providing field-based observations on the topics that affect their morale, welfare and efficiency during campaigns that we will then use to inform public advocacy. And while we should not have to take on this responsibility, we cannot continue to allow Victoria’s emergency management volunteers to be systematically ignored and neglected in Victoria’s emergency management arrangements.

While it is unlikely to be ready for this year’s fire season, we will develop our systems in bite sized chunks and roll it out as we can. Stay tuned, and please never forget, that what you do matters and makes an incredible difference to your communities and those you help.

You are with people on the worst day of their lives, and through your training, commitment and professionalism, you provide what is sometimes the only ray of light and hope in what is otherwise a very dark time. Thank-you for your continued commitment to volunteering, and please stay safe as we again march towards this year’s fire danger period.


 

Survey now open

This year’s VFBV Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Survey is open. The survey is an annual snapshot of volunteer opinion, using questions on issues chosen by CFA volunteers. All responses are confidential, but de-identified results go straight to decision makers. Help us make a difference.

The survey measures volunteer opinions on what is important to them and how well CFA is performing according to what they are experiencing, the gap between the measurement of importance and performance is referred to as the Volunteer Welfare and Efficiency Level (VolWEL) outcome.

A high VolWEL is a sign that things are not working well, while a low VolWEL is a sign that things are working well. Any VolWEL over 2.0 indicates a large to critical gap is emerging and volunteers are highly dissatisfied with arrangements requiring priority attention.

Scan the QR code below, or visit the VFBV website to do the survey. Paper copies are also available by calling (03) 9886 1141.

 

SOP Consultation

We are seeking feedback on revisions to six Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) covering Driving.

These SOPs include: 12.01 Driving or Travelling in CFA and ESO Vehicles; 12.04 Collisions involving CFA Vehicles; 12.05 Safely Recover Disabled CFA Vehicles; 12.06 Non CFA Members in CFA Vehicles; 12.07 CFA Members Driving Private Vehicles; 12.08 Driver Endorsement. Copies of the revised SOPs are available from the VFBV website.

VFBV is seeking broad feedback and comment from volunteers in order to inform and assist with VFBV formal responses to these documents. VFBV District Councils have also been invited to lead local discussion at the District level.

Given the importance of SOPs in CFA’s operational doctrine, VFBV encourages all senior volunteers to make themselves familiar with the proposed changes and provide feedback ASAP.

 

Unreasonable Complaints Policy

We are seeking feedback on a draft policy proposed by CFA to deal with unreasonable complaints.

CFA advises that unreasonable complaints, while a very small proportion of the total number of complaints, might be directed towards any CFA member (either staff member or volunteer) and arise from several sources (staff member, volunteer, a former member, or members of the public) depending on the nature of the issue and area of CFA’s operations.

CFA is seeking ensure that there is a clear framework in place for defining and managing those circumstances in which a complaint might be considered ‘unreasonable’ that can be clearly communicated to members and the public and ensure it is applied consistently across CFA.

VFBV is seeking broad feedback and comment from volunteers in order to inform and assist with VFBV formal responses to this draft policy. VFBV District Councils have also been invited to lead local discussion at the District level.

 

State Champs entries
Entries are now open for the 2024 State Championships to be held in Mooroopna over two consecutive weekends in March 2024. The two weekends of competition will be an exciting celebration and showcase of CFA and the championships. All team entries and judge and official nominations will close on Sunday 18th February 2024.

The Urban Junior Championship will take place on the 16 and 17 March, with the Rural Junior, Rural Senior and Urban Senior Championships all taking place the following weekend on 23 and 24 March.

The 2024 State Championships entries will be collected online, please visit the VFBV website for links to enter your team or to register as a judge or official for any of the State Championships. Brigades who haven’t competed previously or used to compete are encouraged to consider entering a team in the 2024 Championships.

Alongside the competition on the tracks, the popular Torchlight Procession will again take place on Saturday 23 March. Participation in the Torchlight Procession is open to brigades competing in the Urban and Rural Senior Championships as well as non-competing brigades. If your brigade is interested in taking part in the Torchlight Procession please contact the VFBV office via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

The VFBV website also has information for competing brigades, updated rule books for both the rural and urban competitions as well as lists of the local competitions being conducted in the lead up to the State Championships.

If you require assistance during the requisition process or for more information about the Championships please contact the VFBV office This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 9886 1141.

 

Presumptive Legislation
In addition to primary site cervical, ovarian and uterine cancer, VFBV is pursuing the further expansion of the scheme to pick up the remaining six cancers that were added to the Commonwealth’s scheme being primary site lung, skin, penile, pancreatic and thyroid cancers and malignant mesothelioma.

VFBV is calling on the Victorian Government to align its scheme to ensure Victorian firefighters enjoy the same protections and support as their federal counterparts, and firefighters in Tasmania and Western Australia.

We have published a national overview table on our website that allows members to compare each of the presumptive schemes in operation across the country. As you will see, Victoria is falling behind other jurisdictions.

VFBV is seeking the support of all government, opposition and minor party MP’s including independents to support the amendments introduced by the Greens, that would see Victoria’s scheme expanded to the same 21 cancers that the Tasmanian government has introduced.

 

Marking 25 years since Linton

December 2, 2023 marks 25 years since the loss of five Geelong West volunteer firefighters that died during the Linton blaze. The fire had started on private property and spread through more than 600 hectares of bush and farmland. Tragedy struck when a savage wind change swept through earlier than expected.

We honour and remember the loss of firefighters Christopher Evans (27), Garry Vredeveldt (47), Stuart Davidson (28), Jason Thomas (25) and Matthew Armstrong (17).

This devastating loss of five volunteers became the catalyst for improved changes in firefighter training and fireground safety which has potentially saved many lives since.

Some key improvements implemented as a result of the learnings from Linton have been the introduction of low water alarms on fire trucks to inform crews when water is low, the introduction of minimum skills for all firefighters (now known as General Firefighter), improved PPC and equipment as well as new operating procedures for mandatory wind warnings when wind changes are imminent.

On behalf of the VFBV Board, CEO and all members we pay our respects and honour the Geelong West crew of Chris, Garry, Stuart, Jason and Matthew. We give thanks for their devotion to duty and offer our thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this tragic loss 25 years ago.

 

International Volunteer Day

“If everyone did” is the theme for International Volunteer Day in 2023.

International Volunteer Day is celebrated each year on 5 December as a day to acknowledge volunteers and the spirit of volunteerism. The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, and mandated as an international observance to be celebrated each year on the 5th December. 

This year the theme “If everyone did” is a way to recognise the power of collective action. If everyone volunteered the world would be a better place. 

We can see each and every day the benefits provided by CFA volunteers going above and beyond to ensure that their local communities and communities right across Victoria and Australia are safe and protected from fire and other emergencies.

Only recently were we again reminded of the strong camaraderie between fire services with CFA volunteers giving up their time to travel interstate on strike teams to protect communities in Queensland.

It’s not just those who serve on the frontline as firefighters who make CFA a better place, it’s also the members who take on other roles such as community safety, administration, fire equipment maintenance or even just ensuring that the trucks are washed and restowed for the next call out. It is also a day to recognise those who take on additional roles with VFBV, such as Brigade or Group Delegate, District Council Executive, State Councillor or as a representative on working parties and VFBV/CFA Joint Committees to ensure that volunteers are represented, and their voice is heard.

Victoria’s volunteer surge capacity provided by CFA volunteers demonstrates the great power and what can be achieved by everyone lending a hand.

CFA’s volunteers show up each and every day with their expertise and experience in often very testing situations. We are proud of all out volunteers and acknowledge the incredible work they do every day in keeping their communities safe and building community resilience for a safer Victoria.

 

Quarterly Supplement

Included with the December 2023 edition of Fire Wise is the latest edition of the VFBV Quarterly Supplement.

The Quarterly Supplement contains 16 pages of relevant news, updates, information on current issues being pursued by VFBV on behalf of members. It also includes additional resources or updates that are available via our website.

An electronic copy of the Quarterly Supplement can be downloaded here.

Brigade Captains and Secretaries, Group Officers and Group Secretaries as well as VFBV delegates are requested to please take the time to read this and future editions, and table at your upcoming meetings for the benefit and knowledge of your members.

 

Recent articles on the VFBV website
Now Open – 2023 VFBV Volunteer Survey

Open for Consultation Dashboard

International Volunteer Day 2023

Marking 25 years since Linton

Feedback Requested - Unreasonable Complaints Policy

Feedback Requested – Standard Operating Procedures (Driving)

VESEP Grants Announced

2024 State Championships – Entries Now Open

NSW in the line of duty death

Presumptive Legislation Update

 

Enjoy the VFBV monthly newsletter?
If you enjoy reading the VFBV newsletter each month, why not share it with your fellow volunteers?

Either share this page with others who may enjoy the articles or encourage other volunteers to sign up to receive their own copy via email each month here.

 

Want to read the VFBV 2-minute briefings from the CFA/VFBV Joint Committees?
The latest edition along with previous editions can be downloaded from the VFBV website here.

Monday, 04 December 2023 11:24

International Volunteer Day 2023

Written by

“If everyone did” is the theme for International Volunteer Day in 2023.

International Volunteer Day is celebrated each year on 5 December as a day to acknowledge volunteers and the spirit of volunteerism. The day was established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, and mandated as an international observance to be celebrated each year on the 5th December.  

This year the theme “If everyone did” is a way to recognise the power of collective action. If everyone volunteered the world would be a better place. 

We can see each and every day the benefits provided by CFA volunteers going above and beyond to ensure that their local communities and communities right across Victoria and Australia are safe and protected from fire and other emergencies.

Only recently were we again reminded of the strong camaraderie between fire services with CFA volunteers giving up their time to travel interstate on strike teams to protect communities in Queensland.

It’s not just those who serve on the frontline as firefighters who make CFA a better place, it’s also the members who take on other roles such as community safety, administration, fire equipment maintenance or even just ensuring that the trucks are washed and restowed for the next call out. It is also a day to recognise those who take on additional roles with VFBV, such as Brigade or Group Delegate, District Council Executive, State Councillor or as a representative on working parties and VFBV/CFA Joint Committees to ensure that volunteers are represented, and their voice is heard.

The 3V’s project conservatively estimated that emergency management volunteers contribute between $1.9 and $2.5 billion to Victoria each and every year.

VFBV CEO Adam Barnett thanked all CFA volunteers for setting an example and demonstrating how the impact of what can be achieved if everyone volunteered.

“The contribution of CFA’s 55,000 volunteers along with other emergency service volunteers in Victoria cannot be underestimated.”

“Victoria’s volunteer surge capacity provided by CFA volunteers demonstrates the great power and what can be achieved by everyone lending a hand.”

“CFA’s volunteers show up each and every day with their expertise and experience in often very testing situations. We are proud of all out volunteers and acknowledge the incredible work they do every day in keeping their communities safe and building community resilience for a safer Victoria.” Mr Barnett said.


 

About VFBV: VFBV is established under the Country Fire Authority Act and is the peak body for CFA volunteers in Victoria.  VFBV works tirelessly to represent, advocate and support CFA volunteers to the CFA Board and management, governments, ministers, members of parliament, councils, instrumentalities, businesses and the public. Our vision is for Strong Volunteerism, Embraced to Build Community Resilience for a Safer Victoria.
Friday, 01 December 2023 16:06

Marking 25 Years since Linton

Written by

December 2, 2023 marks 25 years since the loss of five Geelong West volunteer firefighters that died during the Linton blaze. The fire had started on private property and spread through more than 600 hectares of bush and farmland. Tragedy struck when a savage wind change swept through earlier than expected.

We honour and remember the loss of firefighters Christopher Evans (27), Garry Vredeveldt (47), Stuart Davidson (28), Jason Thomas (25) and Matthew Armstrong (17).

To remember the five members of their brigade, members of the Geelong West Fire Brigade will hold a memorial service on Saturday 2nd December at the Geelong West Memorial Park with members of emergency services and the wideer community coming together to mark the 25th anniversary.

On 2nd December 1998 a bushfire burned through private land and State Forrest near the township of Linton. At approximately 8:45pm two CFA tankers and their crews were trapped and engulfed in fire following an unexpected wind change. The crew of one of those trucks – the five members from Geelong West brigade were tragically lost.

This devastating loss of five volunteers became the catalyst for improved changes in firefighter training and fireground safety which has potentially saved many lives since.

Some key improvements implemented as a result of the learnings from Linton have been the introduction of low water alarms on fire trucks to inform crews when water is low, the introduction of minimum skills for all firefighters (now known as General Firefighter), improved PPC and equipment as well as new operating procedures for mandatory wind warnings when wind changes are imminent.

On behalf of the VFBV Board, CEO and all members we pay our respects and honour the Geelong West crew of Chris, Garry, Stuart, Jason and Matthew. We give thanks for their devotion to duty and offer our thoughts and prayers for all those affected by this tragic loss 25 years ago.


CFA WELLBEING SUPPORT LINE 

1800 959 232

Providing CFA members and their immediate family access to 24 hour support, 7 days a week.

Psychologists - Counsellors - Peer Support - Chaplains
Friday, 01 December 2023 14:56

Feedback Requested - Unreasonable Complaints Policy

Written by

Formal consultation has commenced on a new CFA Policy to cover 'Unreasonable Complaints'.

The proposed draft policy is available for download from the bottom of this page.

For the purposes of consultation, CFA has provided the following background information on why this policy has been developed:

 


CFA is committed to ensuring that appropriate processes for managing legitimate complaints are in place in respect of all aspects of CFA’s operations and, as you know, CFA continues to work on improving the accessibility and transparency of our issues, resolution, and complaints management processes.

Unfortunately, from time to time, CFA has been subject to complaints that it considers unreasonable. ‘Unreasonable complaints ’can take several forms. One example is a circumstance in which an original complaint has been addressed in accordance with correct process and been subject to relevant (and potentially multiple) review processes, but the complainant continues to be dissatisfied with the outcome or the approach taken. Another is a situation in which a person disagrees with a proper decision made by CFA in accordance with its legislative responsibilities and the person makes inappropriate, repeated, sustained and/or escalated requests for an alternative decision. In both examples, repeated complaints continue and/or escalated behaviour may be directed towards CFA staff members or volunteers,
including verbal abuse, threats, intimidation or harassment.

Unreasonable complaints might be directed towards any CFA member (either staff member or volunteer) and arise from several sources (staff member, volunteer, a former member, or members of the public) depending on the nature of the issue and area of CFA’s operations.

Although we believe they constitute only a very small proportion of the total number of complaints that CFA receive, when they do occur they have a significant organisational impost and detract from CFA’s capacity to address more legitimate matters. In the most extreme
circumstances, unreasonable complaints can constitute a workplace health and safety risk to CFA members and/or constitute illegal behaviour.

We are seeking to ensure that there is a clear framework in place for defining and managing those circumstances in which a complaint might be considered ‘unreasonable’ that can be clearly communicated to members and the public and ensure it is applied consistently across CFA.

CFA is committed to ensuring that all complaints are taken seriously, that appropriate complaint processes are correctly followed and that complainants continue to have access to services from CFA where this is relevant. However, the draft policy seeks to balance this with the need to ensure that CFA staff and volunteers are not subjected to unreasonable behaviour on an ongoing basis, particularly where such behaviour may constitute a risk to health and safety.

We have identified that the absence of a formal policy on how unreasonable complaintswill be managed by CFA has created some uncertainty for those who have experienced sustained and/or repeated adverse behaviour from a complainant about when and how such matters should be escalated and/or will be managed. Nor is there clarity for complainants themselves about the actions that CFA will consider when a complaint is considered unreasonable.

In developing the policy, CFA has largely followed the model policies of the Victorian and NSW Ombudsman’s offices for dealing with such matters and drawn on other recommended resources/examples as needed. Where relevant, we have endeavoured to ensure that the
policy is contextualised to CFA’s operating environment.

Importantly, the policy seeks to build on the foundations of our Behavioural Standards by providing further clarity on how CFA will respond to unreasonable behaviour, including from non (or former) members, and the potential consequences to servicing arrangements.

The Ombudsman’s offices variously use language such as ‘unreasonable’, ‘querulent’ or ‘vexatious’ depending on the type of complaint and nature of the complaint. CFA’s draft policy is encompassing of each of these.


 

Members are encouraged to review the proposed draft policy and provide any feedback/suggestions/amendments including indicating support/non-support for the proposed policy.

Feedback can be provided by individuals, brigades and groups.  

All feedback is used to inform and influence formal VFBV positions as well as used to influence CFA positions and thinking during the deliberative process. If we need to use your feedback to demonstrate or illustrate the views of members, your personal details will not be shared with CFA, and feedback will always be de-identified to protect your privacy.

We encourage members not to wait until deadlines to provide feedback, but rather provide it as early as possible which will give us a chance to conduct further research that may assist us being able to advocate more strongly for your desired outcome.

 

All members are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback. If you have any questions, please contact your local State Councilor or VFBV Support Officer in the first instance.

 


 

How to provide feedback:

It would be preferred that members provide feedback ASAP, so that it can be received incrementally, allowing us enough time to consolidate, identify trends and research issues raised by members. 

Feedback can be provided via:

  1. Emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  2. Your local VFBV District Council or your local VFBV Support Officer

  3. By Post: 9/24 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East VIC 3151

  4. By Fax: (03) 9886 1618

Feedback does not need to be long or detailed, but if you do have the time to make substantive comment that is always welcome.

If you generally support a principle or policy, then a quick note letting us know would also be helpful. Similarly, let us know if you do not support it, or which aspects of it you don't support.

Where indicating non-support, it would be helpful to understand the key reasons why, and even a couple of brief bullet points would be adequate. Likewise, if you would prefer to provide a more detailed response, or mark-up and suggest changes to the documents, that is welcome also.

Your feedback will assist us form a VFBV position and response to the proposed changes and help us advocate on behalf of CFA volunteers. Please consider getting involved, and providing us your feedback ASAP.

Please remember to provide feedback in support as well as against. If we only hear from those who are against, it can be harder to determine the general comfort level of members with the proposals.

Formal consultation has commenced on six updated Standard Operating Procedures (SOP's) covering driving doctrine.

The proposed draft SOP's are available for download from the bottom of this page and contain:

  • SOP 12.01 Driving or Traveling in CFA and ESO Vehicles
  • SOP 12.04 Collisions involving CFA Vehicles
  • SOP 12.05 Safely Recover Disabled CFA Vehicles
  • SOP 12.06 Non CFA Members in CFA Vehicles
  • SOP 12.07 CFA Members Driving Private Vehicles
  • SOP 12.08 Driver Endorsement

 

CFA Overview of Changes

• Drive and travel in CFA or ESO vehicles, Drive under emergency response conditions and Driver fatigue and record-keeping have been combined into a single Drive and travel in CFA or ESO vehicles procedure. This creates a cohesive single procedure that allows members to understand what we are asking of them and aligns better with interstate doctrine.

• Some language has been lifted up to be more flexible and principles based. This is to support dynamic decision making by our people in the field.

• Defined Code 3 response.

• Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) sections have been re-written to make the easier to understand and incorporate the new log book exemption. Note - an updated log book that has been approved by the regulator will be issued to support these requirements with an updated weekly check list to align with the regulator pre-drive checklist.

• A table of HVNL examples to help members understand the practical implications has been developed.

• Minor updates to the collision process to increase reporting and CFA Safe recording.

• Inclusion of a dynamic risk assessment for members attending incidents when ‘going direct’ in a private vehicle.

• A brand new endorsement process.

Members are encouraged to review the draft endorsement process, as this represents the largest change to doctrine from a member impact perspective. CFA has advised the endorsement process:

• Aims to be as simple as possible and that leaves the power to endorse at the appropriate level while allowing for suspension / appeal if required.

• Implements a state standard endorsement that transfers with the member.

• A specific timeline has been proposed to implement the minimum endorsement standards proposed. 

• CFA is developing systems and processes to record drivers licence numbers and endorsements. Those requirements are articulated in the procedure however the back end work for this is ongoing.

In particular, we encourage members to provide feedback on if they think the endorsement process is clear and reasonable, and if the proposed timeline for implementation is achievable.

Members are encouraged to review the revised SOP's and provide any feedback/suggestions/amendments including indicating support/non-support for the proposed policies.

Feedback can be provided by individuals, brigades and groups.  

All feedback is used to inform and influence formal VFBV positions as well as used to influence CFA positions and thinking during the deliberative process. If we need to use your feedback to demonstrate or illustrate the views of members, your personal details will not be shared with CFA, and feedback will always be de-identified to protect your privacy.

We encourage members not to wait until deadlines to provide feedback, but rather provide it as early as possible which will give us a chance to conduct further research that may assist us being able to advocate more strongly for your desired outcome.

Feedback due dates on these SOP's are yet to be determined due to the number of items currently out for consultation. But we encourage members to respond ASAP.

 

All members are welcome and encouraged to provide feedback. If you have any questions, please contact your local State Councilor or VFBV Support Officer in the first instance.

 


 

How to provide feedback:

It would be preferred that members provide feedback ASAP, so that it can be received incrementally, allowing us enough time to consolidate, identify trends and research issues raised by members. 

Feedback can be provided via:

  1. Emailing to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

  2. Your local VFBV District Council or your local VFBV Support Officer

  3. By Post: 9/24 Lakeside Drive, Burwood East VIC 3151

  4. By Fax: (03) 9886 1618

  5. For those that prefer to answer a survey to provide feedback, two survey's have been developed for the SOP's with the most significant changes:

    SOP 12.01 - Driving or Traveling in CFA and ESO Vehicles: Survey - https://survey.zohopublic.com.au/zs/XQEF6R

    SOP 12.08 - Driver Endorsement: Survey - https://survey.zohopublic.com.au/zs/WPEFPK 
     

Feedback does not need to be long or detailed, but if you do have the time to make substantive comment that is always welcome.

If you generally support a principle or policy, then a quick note letting us know would also be helpful. Similarly, let us know if you do not support it, or which aspects of it you don't support.

Where indicating non-support, it would be helpful to understand the key reasons why, and even a couple of brief bullet points would be adequate. Likewise, if you would prefer to provide a more detailed response, or mark-up and suggest changes to the documents, that is welcome also.

Your feedback will assist us form a VFBV position and response to the proposed changes and help us advocate on behalf of CFA volunteers. Please consider getting involved, and providing us your feedback ASAP.

Please remember to provide feedback in support as well as against. If we only hear from those who are against, it can be harder to determine the general comfort level of members with the proposals.

Page 2 of 31
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.

Newsletter