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Wednesday, 07 December 2016 17:10

2 Minute Briefing - Training

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 20/11/2016)

NEW DEPUTY CHIEF OFFICER - TRAINING

The CFA Training department has again been restructured, with the Committee informed that Training has now been transferred to the F&EM (Fire & Emergency Management) directorate, and is now led by a Deputy Chief Officer - Training.

VFBV welcomes Acting DCO Gregg Paterson AFSM to the new position. Gregg brings energy and enthusiasm to the role and the Committee looks forward to working with him.

PUMPING PIT RECOMMISSIONING    

VFBV has been strongly advocating for CFA to commit to a remediation and recommissioning program for pumping pits, whose use was temporarily suspended back in February 2015. There are approximately 91 pumping pits in use across the state. Of vital importance is the need for pumping pits to be safe, and for there to be an efficient and timely program to clean, monitor water quality and ultimately recommission them for use.

For many brigades, pumping pits form the only safe, controlled and viable option for brigades to train in drafting and other related pump operations and skills maintenance.

CFA have now issued a Work Instruction on the Management of Pumping Pits, and have implemented an approved recommissioning process. CFA have advised that the ultimate decision to recommission and fund the cost of these works rests with the Region. Water testing costs between $300/$400, with the cost of cleaning and refilling to be approximately $1,000.

Delegates have raised concern that due to Regional budget limitations, these costs will be pushed back to Brigades. CFA’s advice to these concerns is that Brigades should go through the Chain of Command and ultimately to Assistant Chief Officers who hold oversight of the Regions.

AVAILABILITY OF CHAINSAW TRAINING

The Committee continues to advocate for much greater access and support for members to attain chainsaw qualification and training. Despite two Mobile Chainsaw Training trailers developed through the Mobile Prop Project back in 2015 to add additional capability for members to access chainsaw training, a UFU grievance over the training package, equipment and trailer use and design has resulted in a yearlong ban on paid instructors using these trailers to deliver any chainsaw training, resulting in the widespread cancellation of CFA planned courses for volunteers. 

CFA advises that the IR issues are now close to being resolved, and has confirmed that there are no IR restrictions that relate to volunteer trainer and assessors accessing, towing and using the trailers.

Whilst disappointed that brigades are currently unable to access paid support and delivery of chainsaw courses through CFA’s training pool, the Committee has requested that CFA increase the number of endorsed volunteer trainer and assessors to deliver this training, so that brigades can access this vital training for the upcoming fire season. CFA has agreed to streamline and prioritize volunteer access to the new trailers, equipment and training package, as well as investigate an EOI process for subject matter experts to be identified and endorsed for volunteer training and delivery.

ELECTRICAL SAFETY MOBILE PROPS

Despite significant work and progress on the design of an electrical safety mobile trailer prop back in 2014/15 CFA funding for the prop lapsed and is no longer available, leaving the project completely un-funded.   VFBV is advocating for these mobile props to be fully funded and reprioritized. Electrical Safety and specifically skills maintenance for Low Voltage Fuse Removal has been identified as a state-wide gap for quite some time, and the Committee believes the electrical safety mobile props would significantly improve capability and member access to this vital training and knowledge.

FIRST AID TRAINING

Early results from CFA’s new First Aid Training arrangements with St John appears to be positive, with great acceptance of the out-of-session course work that cuts down the course duration and allows students to do some of the course work at home and in their own time. Adjustments for postal delays is now being factored into future courses.

Published in Training Committee
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 17:07

2 Minute Briefing - Communications & Technology

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 26/11/2016)

DIGITAL SCANNER/LISTENING SETS TIER 3 STILL OPEN

The Digital Scanner subsidisation program advocated by VFBV and run in partnership with CFA has been an overwhelming success, since it began in October 2015. So far, 10,478 digital scanners have been ordered and shipped to Brigades and Groups across the state.  The subsidy budget, and the savings to members, represents over $3 million dollars.

More than 970 Brigades and 80 Groups have placed and received their Tier 1 & 2 orders, and Tier 3 is still under way. Under the Tier 1 program, every Brigade was entitled to a minimum of eight units at the subsidised price.  On average, Brigades ordered 3.5 units under Tier 1, and Groups took up one of their guaranteed minimum of two units.  Under Tiers 1 and 2 members paid $150 for a scanner, with the subsidy budget paying the other $296.75

Scanners are still available: CFA is still accepting Tier 3 orders, from Brigades, Groups and individual members. Tier 3 units are available at cost price, which was significantly reduced due to the bulk orders placed during the subsidisation program.  Members can order units for $446.75 plus postage and handling, while stocks last.  Order forms are still available from the VFBV website.

EAS PAGER OBSERVATION REPORTS MONITORING

Each quarter, the committee receives detailed reporting on the number of EAS Page observation reports submitted, including the type of issues reported, the length of time to investigate, and the results of each investigation. Encouragingly, since implementing this reporting cycle, the committee has observed a significant reduction in the time taken to resolve issues and the quality of reporting. Over the year, the 3 most common reported faults have been; not receiving messages (~38%), physical damage to the pager (~18%), and lost or stolen pagers (~10%).

Members are reminded of the importance of lodging EAS fault reports when they experience problems with their pagers. This information is critically important in identifying network performance issues as well as monitoring the health and status of the current pagers. The committee has requested that CFA investigate and prioritize the introduction of Electronic Observation Reports in addition to the current reporting option, which would provide more timely feedback to the member raising the concern. CFA has agreed to investigate, scope and report back.

PROPOSED REGIONAL RADIO DISPATCH SERVICE EXPANSION TO OUTER METRO DISTRICTS

For many years now VFBV and the Committee have been advocating for the Regional Mobile Radio Network to be expanded to cover the outer metropolitan districts. This network provides high quality digital P25 network capabilities and much improved radio audio quality. Under the Regional Radio Dispatch Service project announced back in 2013, the CFA network has been upgraded to the new digital network in all CFA districts excluding Districts 7, 8, 13 and 14 and has been a resounding success.

Unfortunately, these four Districts were not funded through RRDS and are still operating on the analogue dispatch network. Given these are amongst the busiest Districts in the state, the inability to access the digital dispatch network has far reaching consequences, one of them being these Districts will have no means to access improved functionality, such as the short status button functionality when it finally rolls out. Given the impact short status messaging will have on reducing radio congestion, this would provide a significant improvement to the busy outer metropolitan dispatch systems. In principle approval for expansion has now been announced, and CFA is now working with EMV, VicPol and SES in scoping a new project to potentially deliver on this commitment. VFBV welcomes this long awaited progress and will continue our advocacy to ensure the project receives adequate funding and government priority.   

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 17:03

2 Minute Briefing - Volunteerism

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 20/11/2016)

CFA HQ DIRECTORATE RESTRUCTURE – VOLUNTEERS & STRATEGY

The CFA Volunteerism department has again been restructured, with the Committee informed that the old Learning & Volunteerism directorate has been split, with training now being transferred to the F&EM (Fire & Emergency Management) directorate, and Volunteerism now merging with Strategy to form the new directorate of Volunteers & Strategy.

The Brigade Support Team has now been amalgamated with the Volunteerism team, with this team looking to focus on more field based staff connecting with brigades at the local level.  They will explore recruitment and re-engagement, brigade sustainability, decline and growth patterns across the state, hub and cooperative models, and community connectedness. 

The overall vision of the Volunteers and Strategy Team is to facilitate the growth of volunteerism and strengthen brigade sustainability. VFBV welcomes Executive Director John Haynes to the new position. John brings energy and enthusiasm to the role and the Committee looks forward to working with him. John’s vision is to look at more outcome based measurements, such as what we measure before, during and after fires – not just measuring performance based on time out the door.

CFA ANNUAL PLAN 2016-17 RELEASED

CFA has released its Annual Plan for 2016-17 that outlines its priorities for this period. This year’s plan outlines the five priority plan themes for CFA during the 2016/17 year. The five themes are; Capability; Culture; Stakeholder Engagement; Strategy, Plan and Direction; and Systems and Processes.
 You can download a copy at; http://news.cfa.vic.gov.au/news/cfa-plan-a-must-read-for-all.html

VOLUNTEER TRAVEL REIMBURSEMENT & ARRANGEMENTS

Following reports of variances between CFA Regions and Districts in how volunteer travel reimbursements are paid and authorised, the committee has requested CFA develop a State-wide Business Rule that will standardise and clarify arrangements. VFBV’s long held policy is that no volunteer should be out of pocket due to their volunteering. The Committee continues to advocate for improved access to CFA vehicles – including corporate pool vehicles when required to travel for training or other CFA related activities that would otherwise create an impost or cost upon volunteers. Should an appropriate vehicle not be available, then volunteers should have access to travel reimbursement, which is currently set at $0.72 per km. CFA has agreed to progress a policy review.

AWARD WINNING PROGRAM FOR KIDS

A VFBV-supported project for secondary students has won the Education Award at this year’s Fire Awareness Awards, thanks to local CFA volunteers and the Maryborough Education Centre. The Emergency Services Journey takes Year 9 students to their local brigade, Police and ambulance station to see how each service operates and learn practical skills. What began as a Brigades in Schools program run by volunteers from the Maryborough Fire Brigade in 2004, has been developed into an innovative course at the Maryborough Education Centre by teacher, VFBV Board member and CFA volunteer Samantha Rothman.

The course also includes a camp in the Mallee and sessions at a surf life saving club, and the students achieve certificates in Life Saving skills and First Aid. The program includes team and confidence building, with activities like open water swimming and fire brigade competition events. The Emergency Services Journey program is funded by VFBV and the Maryborough Education Centre Principal David Sutton says the school is proud of the students for doing so well, and Samantha Rothman for her work in developing the program. Well done David, Samantha and the Maryborough Brigade!

Published in Volunteerism Committee
Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:59

2 Minute Briefing - Equipment & Infrastructure

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 19/11/2016)

TANKER REAR DECK POD PROTOTYPE BECOMES A REALITY

For a number of years now, VFBV has been advocating for CFA to explore rear deck pods to trial as a possible replacement for rear deck ROPS, similar to those used in the mining industry. Ever since CFA’s decision to no longer manufacture rear deck ROPS and move exclusively to twin cab cab-chassis’, and the loss of DAH’s (Deck access hatches) volunteers have been raising concerns about the difficulty in accessing the rear deck area during jobs requiring crews to frequently move between the cab and the rear deck. The committee has been advocating for CFA to investigate the European body builders, where it has become common practice to purchase a single cab chassis and then build a crew area connected to the cabin as part of the body. This has a number of advantages including; that in a burn over situation all crew on the deck can quickly and safely return to the cabin; a reduction in crew fatigue across long fire-ground shifts; and greater safety when travelling to and from the fire ground and protection from smoke and embers.


The Committee was provided a tour and inspection of a Bell Engineering Heavy Tanker Pod Prototype, by Managing Director Robert Bell. The prototype is a ‘pod’ type construction which can be modified to slip onto any cab chassis. The ROP or rear cabin is fully self contained, very ‘roomy’ and has a large window with viewing access to the cabin and full size door access to the rear deck. A front mounted monitor, crew protection sprays, digital water level indicators on the sides as well as the back, ample storage lockers and an optional hydraulic BA lifter for easy operation are some of the great features. The Committee has requested that Bell Engineering consider loaning the prototype to CFA early next year so that a roadshow can be planned for members to view and inspect the prototype. Mr Bell has generously agreed, and VFBV extends its gratitude and appreciation to Mr Bell and the Bell Engineering Team, and congratulates them on their continued innovation, collaboration and support of Victorian fire services.

BURNOVER VEHICLE ENTRAPMENT RESEARCH - VIDEO

Following a presentation to the Committee earlier in the year from CFA’s Research & Development team, the Committee requested that CFA use this research to create a new burn-over training video that uses historical vision and vision from field testing filmed in February this year. The research team closely duplicated conditions similar to those experienced during the tragic Linton Fires in 1998 to test the response of CFA’s crew protection systems.


Three vehicles were tested, a tanker with ROP and crew protection, an Ultra-light with Gel coating and an Ultra light with foam coating. All vehicles were relatively unscathed with the temperature in the cabin of the tanker sitting at around 40 degrees whilst the outside temperature rose well above 600 degrees. The Committee has provided feedback on the new video, and has requested that a fact sheet be attached and be released along with SOP 9.32 ‘Entrapment Procedure’ for Brigades to use for their pre-summer training. CFA has released an online version on their facebook page.

This type of research is critical to ensuring firefighter safety and educating members on how the crew protection safety systems work, build confidence in those systems and the importance of situational awareness & entrapment procedures.

ROP CUSHION PROTOTYPE

Arcadia Brigade members briefed the committee on a prototype cushion for use in vehicles with rear deck roll over protection. As many would have experienced, the solid fibreglass ROP seat can be hard on your back and very slippery when cornering. The cushions have multiple functions in regards to firefighter safety, back injury reduction and firefighter comfort on long duration shifts amongst them. The Committee has requested they be field tested by 3 brigades in district 22 and will also be offered for testing by brigades in other Districts over the summer whilst analysis is completed.

The Committee had previously authorised a VESEP grant to support the trial, and VFBV thanks the Arcadia Fire Brigade for this pro-active initiative. A proban, a nomex and a marine canvas version are being field and burn tested over the summer.

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:53

2 Minute Briefing - Community Safety

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 26/11/2016)

PLANNED BURNING AND BUILDING BRIGADE CAPABILITIES

For many years now VFBV has been advocating for a more holistic approach to planned burning, and for CFA to promote the training advantages of participating in planned burns.

The committee has been very pleased to observe that recent planned burns have developed into exercises, not just in fire behaviour and fuel load interactions but also extend to learnings in weather behaviour, impact on flora and fauna, bush heritage and Indigenous fire management practices.

The camps are very practical ‘hands on’ for all involved, each participant is specifically tasked with both coaching and mentoring roles, allowing involvement by volunteers across all aspects of the planned burning. Recent burn camps also saw attendances from Traditional Owners, Trust for Nature (landowners) bird scientists, along with DWELP, plantation owners and CFA paid staff.

The attendees worked well together and contributed experience and expertise, building valuable relationships and creating an atmosphere of co-operation in complex burn scenarios. These camps offer a great opportunity for volunteers to train in realistic settings and gain extensive fire firefighting experience.

The committee has requested CFA produce a brochure which clearly explains and illustrates upcoming Burn Camps to Brigades.

CFA-SES COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT AND HAZARD AWARENESS FORUM

The joint CFA-SES community engagement forum was held at The Mantra in Lorne on 6th & 7th August, 2016.

The Forum is Victoria’s leading community safety conference for emergency service personnel and an opportunity for members to hear from both front line community safety educators but also leading community engagement specialists.

As well as the usual guest speakers, sessions and presentations, there were also outdoor displays by Coast Guard, CFA and SES, which were a resounding success. This year there were 481 attendees, 70% of those were CFA, 20% SES, this is a dramatic rise from 140 at the first forum in 2011. Volunteers from the North East and South East were very well represented with 65% of attendees coming from these two regions. The forum is growing in popularity and size.

The Committee will be reviewing the feedback provided by this year’s attendee’s and supports the continuation of this important forum. VFBV would like to recognize and congratulate the hard working members of the Volunteer Reference Group whose tireless energy and work helped to make this year’s event another resounding success.

THE FIRE SAFETY PLEDGE

Building on the success of last year’s campaign, CFA launched The Fire Safety Pledge to run between 3 November and 22 December.

Brigades are offered the chance to win one of three $1,000 cash prizes by encouraging members of their community to take the online “Fire Safety Pledge” at www.thefiresafetypledge.com.au

When members of the public make their pledge, they are asked to enter a local CFA brigade they wish to support. At the end of the competition, the brigade with the most number of pledges across the three different categories, will receive a cash prize of $1,000.

The categories are

1. Overall winner (brigade with the most votes)

2. Per-Capita – CFA brigade with the most votes relative to their population, and

3. Tiny Town – for brigades serving a population of less than 100 people.

As at 23 November (just three weeks into the initiative) 6,793 people have taken the pledge.

Any member of the public that takes the pledge will go into a draw to win one of four Samsung Galaxy Tablets or one of four $100 Bunning Gift Vouchers.

The friendly competition within Districts has begun with steep competition amongst seven of the top ten positions. Good Luck…..

BUSHFIRE HOTLINE NUMBER CHANGED

Delegates reported to CFA they have received complaints and concerns from the community surrounding the change of the VicEmergency Hotline number from 1800 240 667 to 1800 226 226. The committee has requested that both numbers continue to work until people get used to the change. CFA advice is both numbers will continue for some time.

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 16:49

2 Minute Briefing - Operations

Issue 16: December 2016

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting. (Meeting held 27/11/2016). Unfortunately, delegates were advised a few days before the meeting that the Chief Officer was not available to meet, so the Committee decided instead of cancelling the meeting, they would simply meet without CFA.

ROLE OF GROUP

Having waited since 2012 for the most recent CFA review to strengthen the role of group, the Committee notes with disappointment the lack of progress or CFA leadership in the intervening time. Having lost confidence with CFA’s lack of response or support to this review, the Committee has endorsed a proposal for a volunteer led review of the Role of Group, with the intent to meet and gather feedback from all Groups across the State in order to arrive at a formal position that volunteers can then lead and advocate for across the Sector. This work will commence after the FDP and we will be seeking representatives from all Districts to help lead and coordinate a ground up discussion and review during 2017, with a view of driving this important reform. We will be using all the feedback received from CFA’s previous review as well as discussing the countless ideas and suggestions that arose from discussion during the last review but may have been rejected by CFA at the time for one reason or another.

In the previous review, VFBV advocated for;

  • Greater support and recognition from CFA to Groups and the Group structures in local command and control
  • Greater flexibility in how Groups can structure themselves to accommodate and respect local and regional differences and flexibility to match operating models to local risks. A ‘one size fits all’ model is not supported.
  • Strengthening the chain of command to empower and enhance the capability and capacity for local command and control being exercised by CFA members at the local level ensuring that local participation continues as incidents grow in size and complexity
  • Systems of work that recognize and enhance how Brigades, Groups, OO’s and RDO’s interact and support each other in Operational Readiness & Response, Training & Mentoring and Community Education
  • Strengthening the role of Groups in assisting Brigades building local capability for Incident Management and volunteer upskilling and mentoring for Level 2 and 3 incident management roles
  • Greater support and recognition of the important role of Group Comms including role, systems and processes in supporting local incidents and deployments and recognition in CAD processes and procedures of this vital role
  • Greater support and recognition of the important role Groups play in readiness, pre-incident planning & coordination, strike team resourcing & deployment, maintaining situational awareness and training delivery

All members will be provided an opportunity to share their ideas and thoughts, and VFBV will provide leadership, logistical and administrative support to allow local groups and districts to participate in structured discussions and share the information coming from neighbouring groups and districts across the State. If you would like to be involved in the early stages of the project, please contact VFBV at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (03) 9886 1141 and we will record your details.

40km SPEED LIMITS

VFBV continues to support and advocate for a 40km speed limit for vehicles passing a stationary emergency service vehicle displaying their red and blue flashing lights.

VFBV’s long stated position has been that firefighters working alongside roads and highways when attending to incidents, are put at a significant health & safety risk by passing motorists, and 40km speed limits similar to those for road side workers should be pursued, along with strong public education campaigns to educate motorists of the dangers. The Committee continues to advocate for the establishment of new road rules that will protect all emergency service personnel when working on the side of roads and highways.

 

Published in Operations Committee
Friday, 29 July 2016 00:00

2016 Fire Awareness Awards

The 2016 Fire Awareness Awards are now open to anyone who has implemented a project or program over the last two years that helps reduce the effect of fire in Victoria. 

Projects can focus on any fire type, including structure (housing, commercial, industrial) fires, bushfires or grass fires. 

Community categories: Access and Inclusion, Community-led Prevention, Community-led Preparedness, Education, Innovation and Design, Recovery

Long-standing supporter of the awards, RACV Insurance provides a $10,000 Award for Excellence to the most outstanding project. 

Entries close 15 September 2016

For more information about the 2016 Fire Awareness Awards visit www.fireawarenessawards.com.au, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or follow via Facebook and Twitter

Published in Other News
Friday, 08 July 2016 00:00

VFBV Board Vacancies 2016 - 2018

Invitation to apply for four VFBV Board vacancies – for a 2 year term until 1st October 2018

Closing date for written applications is Monday 1st August 2016

VFBV advances the interests of all Victorian fire brigade volunteers and advocates on their behalf to CFA and other key stakeholders. The VFBV Board drives policy development based on volunteer input and is involved in management of issues of central importance to all CFA volunteers.

Vacancies for Four Board Members will arise when the terms of Nev Jones, Andy Cusack, Bruce Pickett & Bill Maltby expire on 1st October 2016; all members are eligible for re-appointment.

The term of appointment will be for two years and applications are invited from interested volunteers to be considered for these vacancies.

The role of a VFBV Board Member involves contributing to VFBV direction, policy determination and monitoring the performance and governance of the Association. Also actively contributing to policy discussion at Board Meetings, networking with others about policies and issues management, and not only making decisions but being prepared to actively advocate for the benefit of all CFA volunteers and ultimately the Victorian community.

A Board Member Role Statement including the key selection criteria is available from the VFBV office or website www.vfbv.com.au/index.php/about/vfbv/vfbvboard

This is an honorary position; no honorarium is paid.

If you are motivated by the prospect of making a difference for CFA volunteers, then send your written application addressing the key selection criteria in the role statement, plus an outline of your CFA activity including the names of two referees.

Applications must be lodged with VFBV by Monday 1st August 2016.

to:          VFBV, P O Box 453, Mt Waverley 3149

                Tel: 9886 1141;   Fax: 9886 1618

                Email: j.laingThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Published in VFBV News
Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

A time to honour our fallen firefighters

CFA Media release - Thursday, 21 April 2016

Victorians are invited to pay respect to the state’s fallen firefighters by attending the Annual Memorial Service for Firefighters on Sunday, 1 May.

Memorial services are held in a different regional centre each year, with the 2016 service to be held in Wodonga.

CFA Chief Executive Officer Lucinda Nolan said the service was dedicated to remembering firefighters who had given their lives in the line of duty.

“There are 67 members who have lost their lives through service to the community,” Ms Nolan said.

“The number of people directly affected by this loss is even greater, and we pay our respects to their friends, families and loved ones.

“More broadly, it’s a time to honour the personal sacrifices and commitment that our firefighters make each and every day.

“We are forever changed by each of these losses and lessons we’ve learned as a result continue to shape our organisation.”

CFA Chief Officer Joe Buffone said the service would also mark the 10-year anniversary of the deaths of Barnawartha Fire Brigade member Rebecca Helwig and former Campbell’s Creek Urban Fire Brigade Captain Trevor Day.

“The passing of both members in separate accidents in 2006 hit the CFA community hard,” Mr Buffone said.   

“It is a constant reminder of the inherent dangers posed by not just firefighting, but within any emergency services organisation.”

Three new CFA memorial banners will be unveiled at this year’s service as a representation of CFA’s memorial wall.

The memorial is held on the Sunday closest to International Firefighters’ Day, known as St Florian’s Day (4 May).

This will be the 18th service held in regional Victoria with the 2015 service held in Ballarat.

The service will be held from 2pm at the Sacred Heart Church, Beechworth Road, Wodonga.

Published in CFA News
Friday, 15 April 2016 00:00

VFBV's FireWise Page - April 2016

IN THIS EDITION

  • Fire Services Review response hits the mark
  • VESEP Grants - apply now
  • Digital Scanners - Tier 3 orders open now
  • Cancer Law - latest update
  • Young Volunteers Wanted for VFBV's Youth Network
  • Recognition of Qualifications
  • Fatigue Management
  • And more...

FIRE SERVICES REVIEW RESPONSE HITS THE MARK

By Andrew Ford, VFBV Chief Executive Officer

VFBV supports the Government’s response to the Fire Services Review and we have commended Minister Garrett for taking the time to make a sensible and considered response.  We have also welcomed the invitation to work with Government on the issues requiring further consideration.   

Over all, our reaction to the Government’s response to the review’s recommendations is positive and I believe this provides a good foundation for us to work constructively with Government and the CFA.  I have said publicly that in the main the Government’s response to the Fire Services Review is on the mark, and for the issues requiring more work, VFBV looks forward to working with Government, the agencies and other stakeholders.

I think most CFA volunteers will also be pleased overall with the Government’s response.  A key theme throughout the review is a recognition of the enormous front line and collective capacity of Victoria’s fire services.  There is a very strong theme of needing to ensure there is a culture and collective respect of the skills, knowledge and professionalism of Victorian firefighters, volunteer and paid staff alike, regardless of pay status.  The report calls to improve leadership and to address a concerning culture that has tolerated; treating people differently based on pay status; bullying and harassment; poor front line worker and management relationships; and a them and us approach.

There is a strong call for everyone in the sector to focus more energy on working as one.  There is strong recognition of the need for CFA to have more flexibility in the way it deploys resources to support local brigades and community circumstances, and there is an identified need to improve leadership from agency executive level through to Brigade level and across the sector’s collective leadership.

The review recognises the strengths of the existing fire services and says that effort should be focussed on ensuring the separate fire services share common effort, reduce duplication and work as one.  The report explicitly advises against any contemplation of amalgamating the MFB and CFA, reporting that this would have a negative rather than constructive impact. 

The report acknowledges the extensive and essential capacity of CFA’s volunteer Brigades and the fundamental value of sustaining and building strong integration in those communities where paid staff are required to supplement volunteer capacity.  The report identifies the essential nature of CFA’s volunteer Brigade surge capacity for major and concurrent events.

There are 20 recommendations, and the Government has identified actions to address 18 of these.  Several recommendations are earmarked for further discussion/work and the Government has committed to work with VFBV and others on the detail of these.

Based on some commonly discussed issues during the review, many volunteers will be particularly interested in the following recommendations and government response;

  • Recommendation 9, concerning consideration of a Firefighters’ Registration Board – Government response is to initiate national consultation on this over the next five years.  The report detail suggests this would need to be open to volunteers and paid firefighters alike and would provide an opportunity to facilitate lateral entry and recognise skills, irrespective of whether they are paid or volunteer.
  • Recommendation 18, concerning deploying Leading Firefighters or Station Officers to provide administrative, technical, community engagement and operational support to volunteer Brigades.  The Government has supported the intent of finding ways to support volunteer Brigades, but has noted the best means to deliver that support requires further consideration.
  • Recommendation 17, includes recommendation that CFA review the process for selecting Brigade Captains.  Government response suggests a selection process be developed to enhance the current approach to focus on ensuring the necessary leadership and technical skills needed for the role.  This work has a timeframe of the next two years.
  • Recommendation 5, includes developing best practice models for initiation and planning for the establishment of integrated Brigades and the selection of leaders of integrated Brigades, drawing on successful processes adopted to date.  Government response is that CFA is to lead a short review to identify best practices.
  • There are also recommendations concerning training; health & wellbeing; developing leadership; and better engagement with volunteers and representative bodies.

VFBV will seek to be very closely involved with work on these and the actions proposed for all other recommendations.

Of interest is an acknowledgement to include VFBV on EMV’s Fire Services Interoperability Committee.  This is consistent with VFBV’s previous requests to EMC Craig Lapsley and also an issue covered in our submission to the review.  VFBV has previously expressed dissatisfaction to the EMC about not being included in this important forum.

There are several recommendations relating to culture in the fire services and issues specifically relating to bullying and harassment.   VFBV has already welcomed the CFA-commissioned Equity and Diversity Review being conducted by VEOHRC.

At a more strategic level, there are recommendations involving consideration of possible future service delivery models, a review of CFA and MFB legislation, and a review of the legislation giving powers to EMV, but no specific direction set down as yet.  VFBV will certainly be taking a keen interest to ensure these important issues progress in a positive way.

You can download a copy of the Fire Services Review report and the Government’s response and hear ABC radio's Conversation Hour discussion of the issues here.

The Fire Services Review website includes copies of all public submissions including VFBV, CFA and EMV submissions.

 

VESEP GRANTS OPEN NOW

Applications are now open for Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program (VESEP) grants, with $12.8 million available to volunteer emergency services organisations.

Brigades and Groups can apply for VESEP grants of up to $100,000 for operational equipment and small capital works.

This is a welcome announcement from Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett, and a sign of the Government’s recognition of the professionalism and essential services provided by Victoria’s emergency management volunteers.

VFBV worked with the State Government on the design of VESEP, helping to make it as simple and practical as possible, and we continue to work with CFA so Brigades and Groups can achieve the best outcome.

VESEP contributes two dollars in grant money for every one dollar raised locally by the Brigade, and last year 202 Brigades and Groups were successful with their applications.

This year’s VESEP grants will favour applications for:

  • Operational Equipment such as chainsaws, quick fill pumps, generators, inflatable rescue boats, and rescue and safety equipment.
  • Vehicles and appliances such as vehicles, lighting and storm trailers, light/medium tankers, big fill trucks, watercraft and rescue trucks.
  • Minor Facility Improvements, refurbishments and amenities such as: kitchens/change rooms

Talk to your State Councillor for advice and visit the VESEP grants page for an Application Help Pack and case studies from successful applications in past rounds.

 

VFBV Affiliation and Welfare Fund Subscriptions

                       For the benefit of your Brigade and volunteers

Renewal notices for your Brigade/Group’s VFBV Affiliation and Brigade’s VFBV Volunteer Welfare Fund subscription have been mailed and should be with your Secretary now, with a due date of 30 June, 2016.

The modest cost of $77.50 for VFBV affiliation is the same for all Brigades and Groups, and VFBV’s representation of CFA volunteers continues to win growing approval and support, with a record 94% of Brigades affiliating in 2015/16

By renewing your membership or signing up as a new member you not only demonstrate support for the important work VFBV does on behalf of all CFA volunteers, you also help build the strength of VFBV’s influence, your Brigade or Group will be entitled to participate in VFBV forums and decision making, and your Brigade’s members will be eligible to be supported by VFBV’s Welfare Fund.

We also strongly encourage Brigades to subscribe to the VFBV Welfare Fund in the interests of supporting your members in times of personal hardship. The VFBV Welfare Fund operates under Australian Tax Office rules for charities and is independently audited. It can provide small grants to assist volunteer members, their immediate family members and long servicing ex-members, who are suffering significant financial hardship. Over the past five years, the Welfare Fund has distributed over $550,000 to 170 CFA volunteers in need.

It should be noted that in order to access the VFBV Welfare Fund, your Brigade must be affiliated with VFBV, since the association pays all of the VFBV Welfare Fund’s operating costs. For full details visit the VFBV website www.vfbv.com.au and go to the Member Services area.

If you would like to speak to someone from VFBV about your affiliation please contact one of your District’s VFBV State Councillors or call the VFBV office on (03) 9886 1141.

 

DIGITAL SCANNERS – TIER 3 ORDERS OPEN

Brigades have now been notified of their successful orders for digital scanners under Tier 2 of the subsidy scheme, and have until 15 May to pay for their scanners.

The subsidy scheme has been a great success, and more than 1,000 Brigades and Groups have received subsidised digital scanners under Tier 1 and 2 orders.

All of the subsidised scanners have now been allocated, but you can order additional units at cost price – still well under retail - under Tier 3 of the program, which is open until 30 June 2016.

Get your Tier 3 orders in now;

Download the Brigade Order Form here

Download the Group Order Form here

You can download the updated FAQ sheet by clicking here, or download a copy of the Tier 2 confirmation letter and instructions by clicking here.

The whole subsidy program has been an outstanding success for members, and is a great example of CFA and VFBV working together for the benefit for our members.

 

2016 VFBV RURAL SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS

Dunrobin/Nangeela B had a clear win at the 2016 VFBV Rural Championships, Katunga won the Discipline and the crowd at Colac had a great weekend.

There was real diversity on the field, with young men and women from communities all over Victoria and plenty of team spirit.

The events are based on practical firefighting activities.  As well as camaraderie among the teams, they build fitness, team skills and capabilities with hoses, pumps and other equipment that make them a useful addition to each Brigade’s regular weekly training regime.

The championships also offer one of same benefits as staging a major fire brigade exercise; giving Brigades and volunteers the chance to build the networks that pay off when they work together on large scale bushfires and other major emergencies.

As always, the success of the championships was the result of an amazing effort by the organising committee, volunteer judges and officials, support teams and CFA’s hard working DMOs. Congratulations to all involved.

For detailed results, see the rural championships page

 

2016 VFBV RURAL JUNIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS RESULTS

It was a nail biter of a finish in the 2016 VFBV Rural Junior Championships, with Springhurst A, Ascot A and Greta A all on 48 points.

Only a countback could separate them, leaving Springhurst the Champion Team for 2016!

There was a great turnout of girls and boys from communities all over Victoria, with 39 Brigades represented by the CFA volunteer firefighters and community leaders of tomorrow.

Each event is designed to build great team spirit, fitness, team skills and capabilities with hoses, pumps and other equipment that make it a useful addition to each Brigade’s regular weekly training regime.

Of course the teams’ performance on the field is not just about making a big effort on the day, but the hours of practise and dedication of Brigades, coaches, parents and families throughout the year to encourage, train and support our young juniors in developing the professionalism that will benefit their communities for years to come.

As always, the success of the championships was also the result of an amazing effort by the organising committee, volunteer judges and officials, support teams and CFA’s hard working DMOs.  Congratulations to all involved.

For detailed results, click here.

 

VFBV 2016 STATE URBAN SENIOR CHAMPIONSHIPS

The 2016 VFBV State Urban Championships have concluded, with Maryvale taking the title of Champion Brigade with a convincing win over Kangaroo Flat and Melton .

The team from Werribee has been victorious in B Class, with Patterson River second and Sale third.

C Class honours were taken out by Whittlesea, with Stanhope in second place and Knox Group third.

Victoria won the Interstate Challenge, in a very closely fought contest.

Congratulations to the Mildura Committee on their organisation and commitment to the championships, and we hope to see all competitors, families and spectators next year for the VFBV 2017 State Urban Championships at Bendigo.

Detailed results are available for download from our urban championships page.

 

CANCER LAW – DON’T STOP NOW

We expect that proposed presumptive legislation – the Firefighters’ Cancer Law – will be in Parliament soon, but we are concerned the legislation may contain a barrier to volunteers accessing compensation, in the form of an arbitrary ‘incident threshold’ - possibly requiring 150 incidents in any five-year period before they become eligible.

The arbitrary nature of the ‘incident threshold’ is seen by volunteers as simply a way to drastically reduce the number of volunteers who will become eligible.

VFBV has written to your Brigade with details – you are encouraged to raise the concerns with Government MPs serving your area as soon as possible.

Many VFBV District Councils are distributing shop window posters to Brigades that call for the public’s support, and there is more information on our presumptive legislation page.

 

YOUNG VOLUNTEERS WANTED

To improve VFBV’s engagement and representation of younger members, we are establishing a VFBV Youth Network.

This is not a once-off forum, but an ongoing framework and process to engage young people in VFBV, CFA and Emergency Management sector discussions, on an ongoing and structured basis.

As a result, VFBV is hosting an Emergency Management sector multi-agency youth network.

VFBV is committed to the Youth Network, and this is a chance for younger volunteers to get on board at an exciting new stage in our evolution.

See our call for Expressions of Interest and stay tuned to www.vfbv.com.au for updates.

 

VFBV WELFARE & EFFICIENCY SURVEY

The VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey is coming soon. Have your say on issues of importance chosen by volunteers, in a forum that continues to grow in recognition and influence.

The annual survey that has already established itself with the sector’s decision makers is expanding again this year, to include volunteers from right across the Emergency Management sector.

If you took part last year and provided an email address, you are already registered; otherwise provide your name, Brigade and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (03) 9886 1141 to request a printed copy of the survey.

 

RECOGNITION OF MEDICAL QUALIFICATIONS

The problem of gaining CFA recognition of the first aid skills of volunteers who are medical practitioners, paramedics and nurses is moving towards resolution.

The VFBV/CFA Joint Training Committee has been pressing for a solution for a number of years and has now been advised that CFA proposes the creation of a new enterprise (CFA) competency (not a nationally recognized competency unit) which will be called “Eligible to provide first aid in the workplace”.

The competency will be used to record those members who have evidence of formal and current qualifications and will satisfy the CFA skills profile requirements for first aid for those members. CFA is seeking the support of key stakeholders before applying for official approval. VFBV will keep members updated on progress.

 

FATIGUE MANAGEMENT

The VFBV/CFA Joint Operations Committee has been highlighting District and Regional variances in fatigue management procedures for some time, and has made use of a new case study based on a recent large incident to support its case.

The Committee has asked CFA to develop a standard set of guidelines for the whole state, outlining crew changeovers, appropriate rest periods and long haul strike team travel arrangements, including the use of coaches and/or fresh drivers to return appliances to their home locations.

    

GET THE LATEST NEWS

Get the latest in our email newsletter or VFBV’s popular 2 Minute Briefing from the VFBV/CFA Joint Committees. Register here.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cfavol

Follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vfbv or on Instagram @volunteer_fire_brigades_vic

Published in VFBV News

It was a nail biter of a finish in the 2016 VFBV Rural Junior Championships, with Springhurst A, Ascot A and Greta A all on 48 points.

Only a countback could separate them, leaving Springhurst the Champion Team for 2016!

There was a great turnout of girls and boys from communities all over Victoria, with 39 Brigades represented by the CFA volunteer firefighters and community leaders of tomorrow.

Each event is designed to build great team spirit, fitness, team skills and capabilities with hoses, pumps and other equipment that make it a useful addition to each Brigade’s regular weekly training regime.

Of course the teams’ performance on the field is not just about making a big effort on the day, but the hours of practise and dedication of Brigades, coaches, parents and families throughout the year to encourage, train and support our young juniors in developing the professionalism that will benefit their communities for years to come.

As always, the success of the championships was also the result of an amazing effort by the organising committee, volunteer judges and officials, support teams and CFA’s hard working DMOs.  Congratulations to all involved.

CHAMPION TEAM (following a countback to determine placings):

1st

Springhurst A

48 Points

2nd

Ascot A

48 Points

3rd

Greta A

48 Points

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

 

VFBV State President Encouragement Award: Chiltern A

Stan Ross Conduct Trophy:                                         Sedgwick Brigade                            

Junior Firefighter Sprint:                  

11-13 Years – Female:                    Abbie Hromenko, Huntly

11-13 Years – Male:                         Logan White, Greta

11-15 Years – Female:                    Tiffany Jorgenson, Beazley’s Bridge

11-15 Years – Male:                         Matthew Kerr, Dunrobin/Nangeela

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

 

FINAL AGGREGATES

11-13 YEARS AGGREGATE

1st

Greta A

36 Points

2nd

Mandurang A

26 Points

3rd

Sedgwick A

22 Points

11-15 YEARS AGGREGATE

1st

Springhurst A

48 Points

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela A

34 Points

3rd

Ascot A

28 Points

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

 

EVENT RESULTS

Event 1A: Low Down Pump & Ladder – 11-13 Years        

1st

Ascot A

18.91 Seconds

2nd

Eldorado A

19.17 Seconds

3rd

Plenty A

19.45 Seconds

4th

Beazley’s Bridge A

19.86 Seconds

5th

Stuart Mill A

20.09 Seconds

Event 1B: Low Down Pump & Ladder – 11-15 Years

1st

Ascot A

15.84 Seconds

2nd

Mandurang A

16.97 Seconds

3rd

Sedgwick A

17.14 Seconds

4th

Dunrobin/Nangeela A

17.16 Seconds

5th

Doreen A

17.83 Seconds

Event 2A: Hose & Ladder – 11-13 Years

1st

Beazley’s Bridge A

22.37 Seconds

2nd

Greta A

22.51 Seconds

3rd

Sedgwick A

23.39 Seconds

4th

Yambuk A

23.85 Seconds

5th

Millbrook B

24.03 Seconds

Event 2B: Hose & Ladder – 11-15 Years

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela A

19.74 Seconds

2nd

Springhurst B

21.16 Seconds

3rd

Willaura A

21.24 Seconds

4th

Huntly A

21.66 Seconds

5th

Stuart Mill A

21.98 Seconds

Event 4A: Tanker – Priming, Pumping & Ladder – 11-13 Years

1st

Sedgwick A

28.84 Seconds

2nd

Greta A

29.23 Seconds

3rd

Mannerim A

32.9 Seconds

4th

Ascot A

32.92 Seconds

5th

Hurstbridge A

33.78 Seconds

Event 4B: Tanker – Priming, Pumping & Ladder – 11-15 Years

1st

Springhurst A

24.84 Seconds

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela A

24.94 Seconds

3rd

Greta A

25.16 Seconds

4th

Stuart Mill A

26.62 Seconds

5th

Mandurang A

26.73 Seconds

Event 5A: Hydrant & Tanker – 11-13 Years

1st

Greta A

27.54 Seconds

2nd

Mandurang A

29.91 Seconds

3rd

Stuart Mill A

30.37 Seconds

4th

Millbrook A

31.22 Seconds

5th

Eldorado B

31.31 Seconds

Event 5B: Hydrant & Tanker – 11-15 Years

1st

Springhurst A

23.16 Seconds

2nd

Drunrobin/Nangeela B

23.83 Seconds

3rd

Mandurang A

24.73 Seconds

4th

Stuart Mill A

25.35 Seconds

5th

Ascot A

26.01 Seconds

Event 6A: Tanker – Drawing Water from Tank – 11-13 Years

1st

Mandurang A

21.98 Seconds

2nd

Millbrook B

22.64 Seconds

3rd

Willaura A

24.13 Seconds

4th

Moyhu A

25.21 Seconds

5th

Mannerim A

25.5 Seconds

Event 6B: Tanker – Drawing Water from Tank – 11-15 Years

1st

Springhurst A

17.14 Seconds

2nd

Ascot A

19.22 Seconds

3rd

Greta A

20.58 Seconds

4th

Dunrobin/Nangeela A

20.71 Seconds

5th

Mandurang A

21.71 Seconds

 

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

 

 

 

 

Published in VFBV News
Monday, 04 April 2016 00:00

2016 VFBV Rural Championships Results

Dunrobin/Nangeela B had a clear win at the 2016 VFBV Rural Championships, Katunga won the Discipline and the crowd at Colac had a great weekend.

There was real diversity on the field, with young men and women from communities all over Victoria and plenty of team spirit.

The events are based on practical firefighting activities.  As well as camaraderie among the teams, they build fitness, team skills and capabilities with hoses, pumps and other equipment that make them a useful addition to each Brigade’s regular weekly training regime.

The championships also offer one of same benefits as staging a major fire brigade exercise; giving Brigades and volunteers the chance to build the networks that pay off when they work together on large scale bushfires and other major emergencies.

As always, the success of the championships was the result of an amazing effort by the organising committee, volunteer judges and officials, support teams and CFA’s hard working DMOs. Congratulations to all involved.

HIGHEST POINTS OVERALL:        Dunrobin/Nangeela B - 74 points

DISCIPLINE AWARD:                       Katunga Brigade

WINNERS OF THE SPRINTS:         Female Sprint:   Amy Jackson, Willaura

Male Sprint:       Nathan Hooper, Greta

To download full results and detailed aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

FINAL AGGREGATES

DIVISION A AGGREGATE

 

1st

Greta A

64 Points

 

2nd

Hurstbridge A

46 Points

 

3rd

Greta B

42 Points

DIVISION B AGGREGATE

 

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

74 Points

 

2nd

Connewarre B

28 Points

 

3rd

Strathmerton A

27

Points

DIVISION C AGGREGATE

 

1st

Plenty A

44 Points

 

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela D

41 Points

 

3rd

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

40 Points

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

EVENT RESULTS

Event 1: Low Down Pump & Ladder

A Division:

1st

Greta A

15.07 Seconds

 

2nd

Greta B

16.45 Seconds

 

3rd

Eldorado A

16.65 Seconds

 

4th

Beazley’s Bridge A

16.68 Seconds

 

5th

Mandurang A

 

17.17 Seconds

B Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

17.18 Seconds

 

2nd

Connewarre B

17.28 Seconds

 

3rd

Strathmerton A

17.86 Seconds

 

4th

Irrewarra A

18.03 Seconds

 

5th

Dunolly A

18.21 Seconds

 

C Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela D

16.75 Seconds

 

2nd

Strathmerton C

17.24 Seconds

 

3rd

Plenty A

17.55 Seconds

 

4th

Katunga B

18.08 Seconds

 

5th

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

18.53 Seconds

Event 2: Hose & Ladder

A Division:

1st

Chiltern A

15.22 Seconds

 

2nd

Hurstbridge A

15.41 Seconds

 

3rd

Greta B

15.55 Seconds

 

4th

Eldorado A

15.56 Seconds

 

5th

Beazley’s Bridge A

15.88 Seconds

 

 

 

 

B Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

15.92 Seconds

 

2nd

Miners Rest A

16.7 Seconds

 

3rd

Mandurang B

16.95 Seconds

 

4th

Eldorado C

17.04 Seconds

 

5th

Research B

17.34 seconds

 

C Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

16.09 Seconds

 

2nd

Mt Buninyong A

16.78 Seconds

 

3rd

Connewarre C

17.06 Seconds

 

4th

Plenty A

17.12 Seconds

 

5th

Greta D

18.03 Seconds

 

Event 3: Tanker Hose Reel & Ladder

A Division:

1st

Hurstbridge A

39.49 Seconds

 

2nd

Beazley’s Bridge A

40.6 Seconds

 

3rd

Greta A

42.96 Seconds

 

4th

Springhurst A

44.21 Seconds

 

5th

Eldorado A

 

44.35 Seconds

B Division:

1st

Moyhu A

44.04 Seconds

 

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

45.95 Seconds

 

3rd

Research B

46.53 Seconds

 

4th

Strathmerton A

46.66 Seconds

 

5th

Connewarre B

47.66 Seconds

 

C Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela E

47.71 Seconds

 

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

48.91 Seconds

 

3rd

Research C

50.51 Seconds

 

4th

Corio B

51.15 Seconds

 

5th

Plenty A

51.7 Seconds

 

Event 4: Tanker - Priming, Pumping & Ladder

A Division:

1st

Greta B

20.31 Seconds

 

2nd

Greta A

20.63 Seconds

 

3rd

Hurstbridge A

21.71 Seconds

 

4th

Mandurang A

22.45 Seconds

 

5th

Springhurst A

22.71 Seconds

 

B Division:

 

1st

 

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

 

23.94 Seconds

 

2nd

Connewarre B

24.46 Seconds

 

3rd

Strathmerton A

24.69 Seconds

 

4th

Elaine A

24.94 Seconds

 

5th

Miners Rest A

 

24.98 Seconds

C Division:

1st

Plenty A

25.09 Seconds

 

2nd

Research C

25.43 Seconds

 

3rd

Dunrobin/Nangeela D

25.91 Seconds

 

4th

Pearcedale A

26.1 Seconds

 

5th

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

27.64 Seconds

 

Event 5: Hydrant & Tanker

A Division:

1st

Greta A

17.92 Seconds

 

2nd

Greta B

18.9 Seconds

 

3rd

Springhurst A

19.17 Seconds

 

4th

Hurstbridge A

20.77 Seconds

 

5th

Springhurst B

21.98 Seconds

 

B Division:

 

1st

 

Dunrobin/Nangeela B

 

20.18 Seconds

 

2nd

Strathmerton A

20.47 Seconds

 

3rd

Connewarre B

22.53 Seconds

 

4th

Irrewarra A

22.81 Seconds

 

5th

Moyhu B

23.53 Seconds

 

C Division:

1st

Dunrobin/Nangeela D

21.25 Seconds

 

2nd

Dunrobin/Nangeela C

23.38 Seconds

 

3rd

Research C

23.74 Seconds

 

4th

Corio B

24.44 Seconds

 

5th

Dunrobin/Nangeela E

24.57 Seconds

 

Event 6: Tanker Drawing Water from Tank

A Division:

1st

Greta A

14.48 Seconds

 

2nd

Hurstbridge A

15.53 Seconds

 

3rd

Chiltern A

16.42 Seconds

 

4th

Torquay A

16.78 Seconds

 

5th

Mandurang A

16.82 Seconds

 

B Division:

 

1st

 

Eldorado B

 

17.35 Seconds

 

2nd

Irrewarra A

19.4 Seconds

 

3rd

Dunolly A

20.1 Seconds

 

4th

Eldorado D

20.22 Seconds

 

5th

Beazley’s Bridge C

20.42 Seconds

 

C Division:

1st

Plenty A

20.56 Seconds

 

2nd

Greta D

20.73 Seconds

 

3rd

Doreen A

20.96 Seconds

 

4th

Connewarre C

21.11 Seconds

 

5th

Dunrobin/Nangeela D

21.19 Seconds

 

To download full results and aggregates, visit the Rural Championship Results page here

 

Published in VFBV News

The 2016 VFBV State Urban Championships have concluded, with Maryvale taking the title of Champion Brigade with a convincing win over Kangaroo Flat and Melton .

The team from Werribee has been victorious in B Class, with Patterson River second and Sale third.

C Class honours were taken out by Whittlesea, with Stanhope in second place and Knox Group third.

Victoria won the Interstate Challenge, in a very closely fought contest.

Congratulations to the Mildura Committee on their organisation and commitment to the championships, and we hope to see all competitors, families and spectators next year for the VFBV 2017 State Urban Championships at Bendigo.

Detailed results are available for download below.

To see results from the 2016 VFBV State Urban Junior Championships, click here.

Published in VFBV News
Wednesday, 09 March 2016 00:00

VFBV’s Fire Wise Page – March 2016

<Download page as PDF>

FIRE WISE: SHARING AND BUILDING KNOWLEDGE

By Andrew Ford, VFBV Chief Executive Officer

It won’t have been missed by most of you that there has been a name change to this important publication.

Some people might struggle with this I know, others will love it, and some won’t care – what’s in a name, some might say.

So what’s in the name? In the past and certainly into the future, this publication is one of the many important channels for information to be passed on, for first hand stories to be shared in order that we collectively learn, pass on knowledge, and as the name suggests, get wiser.

In CFA we talk a lot about the value of local knowledge, of organisational memory, and of the invaluable practical knowhow that comes from years of on ground experience.

In today’s dynamic world the value and importance of learning and gaining knowledge through the passing down of stories and first hand experiences should not be underestimated.

Talking with a Sector Commander after one of our recent big fires, he reflected on the gratitude of local community members (and many of these were relative newcomers) and their thankfulness that the CFA “just knew how the fire would behave”, “knew what to do” and “seemed amazingly calm” despite it being years since that community had experienced such a severe fire.

The training and experience of volunteers on that fireground was abundantly clear but there was also a deeper knowledge and inherited memory of the way things would pan out that made an enormous difference to achieving the terrific outcome and the Sector Commander reflected on the dozens of stories that had been shared down through time that built their collective knowledge.

So what’s in the name – Fire Wise – a vital communication tool to share information and stories so that we can build capability, celebrate, remember and learn.

Congratulations on being decisive enough to take the step Gordon, and I look forward to the value and role of this publication being widely recognised into the future.

CFA RED PAPER

Elsewhere on this page, you will see details of CFA’s Red Paper, and I urge you to see this as a great opportunity to shape CFA’s future direction.

One of the things of most concern to VFBV and volunteers in recent years is that external factors have too often overridden CFA’s setting of its own priorities.

VFBV’s detailed submission to the State Government’s Fire Services Review plus many previous VFBV submissions are already a key part of volunteer input to the Red Paper, and I urge you to have your say as both a contribution to the outcome and a form of support for this proactive decision making by CFA.

 

RED PAPER

We encourage every volunteer to take CFA’s Red Paper survey online – member input is open until 27 March and the survey consists of three questions.

While many volunteers feel CFA has been heavily scrutinised, reviewed and subjected to any number of external inquiries in recent years, the Red Paper is about CFA making its own decisions and setting its own path for the coming 10 years.

Naturally, practical input from volunteers on the front line is essential.

CFA says the Red Paper will inform its engagement with its stakeholders and Government about future investment, and give it authoritative evidence about what it needs and why; from fire trucks and stations, to new front line or support staff, community programs, technology innovation and research.

The survey asks three questions about; how the risks faced by communities will change, the changes CFA needs to make and what CFA should focus on achieving over the next 10 years.

You can find the Red Paper survey at http://cfa.engagementhq.com/red-paper

 

TATURA’S TRIPLE SUCCESS

Hosts Tatura have won their third VFBV Urban Junior Championships in a row, with an impressive performance, taking the Dry, Wet and Under 14 Aggregates to win the Grand Aggregate by a clear margin.

At the end of the day, Tatura A came home with 89 points, leading Sale A with 41 and Moe A with 37 points.

Moe A and Sale A also appeared in the top three in most of the Aggregates, and other strong performers were Koo Wee Rup A and Melton A.

The championships attracted more than 700 competitors in 79 teams representing 47 Brigades from all over Victoria and two from Western Australia.

You can download full results here, or for more stories from the championships, see page 11 of the March 2016 edition of Fire Wise.

 

CANCER LAW: DON’T STOP NOW

Proposed presumptive legislation – the Firefighters’ Cancer Law – is something we anticipate will be in Parliament soon, but there are still unresolved questions, and now is the time to make sure your local MPs fully understand the issue of possible discrimination against volunteers.

Our main concern is that the legislation may contain a barrier to volunteers accessing compensation, in the form of an arbitrary ‘incident threshold’ - possibly requiring 150 incidents in any five-year period before they become eligible.

The arbitrary nature of the ‘incident threshold’ is seen by volunteers simply as a way to drastically reduce the number of volunteers who will become eligible.

We are also concerned the Government is yet to finalise the legislation and whether or not commitments to treat CFA volunteers equally with career fire fighters will be maintained.

VFBV has sent a letter and supporting information to your Brigade Captains, Secretaries and VFBV Delegates, and you are encouraged to discuss the concerns with your Brigade and take them up with Government MPs that cover your area as soon as possible.

Approaching local MPs is not difficult, and can range from a formal letter to a simple email, a chat at a local event, or a letter or story in your local newspaper.

The legislation is due soon, don’t wait until you know a firefighter with cancer or flawed legislation is passed, speak up now.

There is more information at www.vfbv.com.au

 

YOUTH NETWORK

The VFBV Youth Network will shortly begin to recruit young people in each District.

It is a key initiative for the year and will give younger volunteers a permanent place in VFBV’s decision making at local and state levels.

Each District Panel will be made up of five to 10 young volunteers aged 18 to 35 years who will send a representative to a VFBV State Youth Advisory Committee that will inform the VFBV Board and State Council.

The District Panels will deal with issues from a youth perspective, not just youth specific issues, and like the existing VFBV District Councils, each District Panel will work to resolve issues at the local level wherever possible, as well as raising statewide matters at state level.

We are now recruiting local champions in each District to support our young people and start identifying and inviting those young people to be involved as potential youth representatives.

 

GREAT NEWS ON SCANNERS

VFBV, with the support of CFA, has secured extra funding for more subsidised digital scanners for Brigades and Groups.

All Tier 1 orders have been dispatched to Brigades and Groups, and those who placed Tier 2 orders for any remaining units will now receive their full order, rather than a share of any that were left over after Tier 1.

Brigades with Tier 2 orders have been sent notification and have until 15 May to send in their payment for the additional subsidised units.

Over 7,000 scanners have already been delivered under the VESEP funded scheme negotiated by VFBV and CFA.

VFBV first raised the need for a subsidy scheme in 2010, with a survey that revealed thousands of scanners and listening sets that would become obsolete when CFA radio channels switched to digital technology.

 

VOLUNTEER VIDEO FOR THE COMMUNITY

VFBV’s clever animated video is getting a great reception. It has now been viewed an estimated 50,000 times online and will be available soon from your District Council for use in local presentations.

The video tells the story in simple pictures about the huge volunteer surge capacity that allows CFA to call on thousands of trained, experienced firefighters at any time, the professional levels of training and the wide range of roles that volunteers perform.

Your District Council will soon receive copies of the video on USB memory stick, for use by Brigades planning open days, public events, community information meetings or discussions with local Members of Parliament, Councils and other decision makers.

If you haven’t seen the video, visit www.youtube.com/user/vfbvtv

 

ULTRALIGHT PROTECTION SYSTEMS

The VFBV/CFA Joint Equipment & Infrastructure Committee is investigating crew protection systems for CFA’s light vehicles.

There are over 150 ultra-light tankers and slip-on vehicles that were not covered under the crew protection system retrofit due to a lack of a suitable system.

Two new products designed to provide protection against radiant heat and direct flame contact in the event of a burn-over are now being evaluated; a Polymer Gel System and a Compressed Air Foam System.

Both products have shown promising early signs, with experimental testing during field burn-overs in moderate bushfire intensity conditions planned for early autumn 2016.

The committee will keep you updated.

 

SURVEY COMING SOON

Register now for the 2016 VFBV Volunteer Welfare & Efficiency Survey.

A record 2,500 volunteers took part last year, and the new VICSES version of the survey achieved success in its first year.

The detailed 2015 survey report will be out soon, taking volunteers’ opinions and comments to VFBV and CFA Boards, CFA’s senior management, VICSES, the Emergency Management Commissioner and the Minister for Emergency Services.

Each year’s results are compared with previous years' figures to show trends in how volunteers feel on each issue.

It is a co-operative process; VFBV and the CFA Board have studied successive years' results and continue to use the survey to highlight aspects of volunteer support that need attention.

Sign up by sending your name, Brigade/Unit and District or Region to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or request a posted survey on paper on (03) 9886 1141.

 

D13 PRESIDENT MOVES ON

VFBV District 13 President Bill Watson AFSM has stepped down from the role after distinguished service to the volunteers and career staff of the District.

Bill has retired and is moving to Wonthaggi, where he has volunteered in the past, and will continue his volunteering with CFA and his support of VFBV.

At District 13, Bill has shown strong leadership on the Firefighters’ Cancer Law issue and all aspects of the welfare of volunteers.

While his operational commitment has been exceptional, he has truly made his mark as a networker who has reached out to those volunteer families struggling in the aftermath of fires, drought and floods, and was recognised with CFA’s Outstanding Service Medal for his work in the wake of the 2009 fires.

    

WELFARE PATROL

In the wake of the major fires of summer, VFBV delegates, officials and Board Members have been hard at work, meeting with Brigades in the affected areas and conducting welfare checks on individual volunteers.

We have also posted a fresh list of government support services for people affected by bushfires and other natural disasters, on the VFBV web-site at www.vfbv.com.au

If you are in need of practical assistance or could use a sympathetic ear, don’t forget that CFA Peer Support is available through your CFA District Office, contact your VFBV State Councillor or talk to your own Brigade.

 

THE LATEST NEWS

Get the latest in our email newsletter or VFBV’s popular Two Minute Briefing from the VFBV/CFA Joint Committees.

Register at www.vfbv.com.au - click on the VFBV Newsletter box.

Join the discussion on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cfavol or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/vfbv or on Instagram @volunteer_fire_brigades_vic

 

Published in VFBV News

Expression of Interest to conduct a State Urban Senior Championship, 2016 to 2018

All Brigades/Committees interested in hosting an Urban Senior Championship during the years 2016 to 2018, are invited to lodge an Expression of Interest with the VFBV office. 

VFBV strongly encourages all Brigades/Committees to consider their ability and willingness to host a State Championship to ensure the continuation of our competitions. 

Expressions of Interest to be forwarded to VFBV by Friday 15th August 2014.

Enquiries may be made to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (03) 9886 1141.

Published in VFBV News
CFA Volunteers are the unpaid professionals of our Emergency Services. VFBV is their united voice, and speaks on behalf of Victoria's 60,000 CFA Volunteers.

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