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Monday, 14 September 2015 00:00

2 Minute Briefing - Joint Training Committee

Issue 13: July 2015

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 21/06/15)

DRIVER TRAINING

Further progress has been made, with VicRoads confirming that CFA is well placed to establish an internal training and assessment process that would be recognized by VicRoads in the attainment of truck licenses for members. Initial scoping has indicated that existing CFA Driver Instructors (vol and staff) would only need to attain two additional competencies to align them with VicRoads requirements. CFA is now scoping a pilot program, and will also pilot five external providers to provide State coverage during the evaluation.

BA HELMET DECALS

The Committee requested an update on where CFA was at with helmet markings to indicate if members were qualified in Breathing Apparatus. With the introduction of a 2 stream process for BA attainment, one for external use, and a more complex one for internal attack and search & rescue, there is confusion around which level of competency a member holds when they are displaying the “BA” decal on their helmet.

A pilot has been running for some time in District 13 who are trialling new helmet markings, and CFA have advised results from that pilot will not be finalized until September. The Committee has indicated this appears to be a very long time for what appears to be quite a simple issue, and has requested if the evaluation can be finished earlier to enable a decision to be made ASAP.

VOLUNTEER TRAINERS & ASSESSORS

The Committee has requested a regular report broken down by District & Region, of how many individual volunteers have been endorsed as trainers and assessors, along with which courses, and an indication of how often they actually get used. Following continual complaints received from volunteers that they cannot access formal competency training and cancellation of courses due to no available instructors or long term instructor vacancies, it is hoped regular reporting will provide transparency as to which Districts have established a sufficient pool of volunteer trainers and assessors to meet the increasing demand and assist with promoting best practice.

FIRST AID TRAINING

Limits on the number of volunteers being trained in First Aid still constitute an unresolved issue, and VFBV has made a direct request to CFA for an update on any progress.

The issue persists in spite of the Chief Officer’s ‘maximum density model’ being promoted in CFA’s reporting on its implementation of Jones Inquiry recommendations and an indication at the Benalla Open Forum last year that a funding proposal supporting that model was close to being resolved.

We are still receiving complaints from volunteer Brigades that they are limited in the number of members who can be trained in First Aid and in some Districts, CFA is sending invoices to Brigades for training members in First Aid above their current BOSP targets.

VFBV presented CFA with a detailed official position paper on First Aid in 2010, calling for the removal of barriers to First Aid training, Recognition of Prior Learning for those already well qualified, and First Aid training to be made available for every operational volunteer who is willing to undertake it and non-operational volunteers who need it under OH&S requirements. A copy of the VFBV First Aid Position Paper is available in the Library section of the VFBV website

Published in Training Committee

Issue 12: April 2015

A quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 11/04/15)

LISTENING SETS

The Committee requested a report on the status of the project to introduce new listening sets. CFA advised that two proposed models are currently being technically assessed by CFA prior to issue to the nominated volunteer delegates for field testing and final evaluation. This project has been delayed several times and the committee expressed its frustrations with the delays and reinforced their desire for new listening sets to be available well in time for the 2015/16 fire season. Concerned by any further delays, delegates recommended to CFA that the two listening sets identified for testing be issued immediately to the volunteer reps for field testing; whilst CFA technical testing continues at the same time. This would speed up the process and ensure that the appropriate listening set is identified and purchasing arrangements put in place by June 2015. The committee will continue to monitor.

REGIONAL RADIO DISPATCH

CFA reported that the Regional Radio Dispatch project is running ahead of schedule, and thanked all CFA volunteers for their excellent support in making brigade radios available for the latest re-flash. The recent opening of District 27 required the creation of talk group 527 and fireground channels for the new District, as part of the Regional Radio Despatch project. This re-flash is adding the software required for future resource tracking and short status messaging functions. CFA advised that the latest re-flash will be finished by September.

OBSERVATION REPORTS

The committee was provided with the first CFA Observation report analysis. This new report will allow the committee to monitor outstanding observation reports, and provide greater accountability to CFA and ESTA in ensuring they are actioned and responded to. This new process, and the information contained in the report also highlighted the importance of Observation Reports as one key way for volunteers to improve the quality of CFA incident records. The committee delegates welcomed the analysis but have requested further details behind some of the reported figures so that causes and solutions may be identified.

Whilst VFBV has had reports from some Brigades that they no longer complete Observation Reports due to the perception that “nothing ever happens with them”, VFBV strongly encourages all brigades to continue to submit Observation Reports, especially now the committee can monitor their progress and resolution. Whilst some brigades may question the value in providing an Observation Report – they provide important and valuable information into CFA that can only improve the service provided by ESTA to brigades. It is hoped the report process now in place through the Joint Committee will ensure that Observation reports are investigated and actioned more swiftly in the future.

PAGERS

The committee discussed the ongoing issue with the current CFA pagers. In some cases – reports have been received of members returning their pagers to District and relying on third party notification providers via smart phones. These providers are not officially supported by the agencies and can remove their service at any time – therefore they are not a safe way of receiving an alert, even if their coverage or feature set is superior to the current CFA pager.

VFBV continues to advocate for the need to urgently address designs and feature sets of the next generation pagers, with the current pager contract due to expire next year. The Committee has suggested that a workshop be held with Emergency Management Victoria to investigate future pager options.

Issue 10: August 2014

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 09/08/14)

REAR DECK ACCESS HATCHES

The committee has for some time been advocating for easier methods for crews to embark and disembark from the rear working deck on tankers. Issues around access have been exacerbated by CFA’s decision to not accommodate a rear facing ROPS area on new tankers, which necessitates crews having to frequently embark and disembark between trips and protracted incidents where water points are located long distances from the fire line. CFA have advised that the main reason for the phasing out of external ROPS on new truck builds has been due to them not meeting modern day Australian Design Regulations and health and safety concerns raised by Worksafe.

Many years ago, rear deck access hatches (DAH’s) where trialled in some crew cabins, that would allow crews to access the rear deck by a small door at the rear of the main cabin. Whilst feedback from the trial was mixed, they are no longer an alternative due to modern truck cabin designs which has resulted in manufacturers no longer willing to build DAH’s due to fear that they may impact upon the structural integrity of the cabin.

The Committee has strongly advocated the need to address the issue urgently, with CFA Fleet Services agreeing to investigate options and report back. Initial investigations will look at folding stair or ladder adjustments through to the enclosed rear facing modules that mining companies have been using that would provide an enclosed ROPS that would meet Australian Design Regulations. (ADR’s)

MEDIUM TANKER ROAD HANDLING INVESTIGATION

After several reports to the Committee from Brigades using the new Medium Tankers raising concerns about road handling, CFA agreed to commission an independent expert report to test the vehicles road handling. The report has conclusively found not only that the vehicle is safe, but scores quite highly across the board on most of the individual test results.

Prior to the test, CFA wrote to 124 Brigades who have a Medium Tanker, inviting them to provide feedback on the trucks handling. Of those, only 10 Brigades expressed concerns, with most indicating its performance in highway driving. For the purposes of the test, CFA provided a new tanker straight off the production line, as well as two tankers from the two Brigades who had raised the most concern over its handling. All three vehicles were tested using identical scenarios and criteria.

The full results are currently being collated, and will be provided to the Committee shortly. Discussion on the initial analysis of Brigade feedback and the independent test results indicates that driver training needs to be improved, especially considering brigades are usually upgrading from a 20 or 30 year truck, and thus may not fully appreciate the significance of changes. The Committee has requested that CFA review its training materials in order to provide a better comparison between models – and to highlight area’s that Brigades should concentrate on during vehicle changeover training.

BRIGADE OWNED VECHICLE INSURANCE ISSUES

The Committee is strongly advocating for CFA and the CFA Board to modify its Policies on insurance coverage involving Brigade Owned Vehicles. Under current policies, CFA will only provide market value to Brigades whose vehicles are written off on the fire ground. The committee has used four recent examples where this has occurred, and where the CFA response has been completely inadequate. Whilst not necessarily arguing for new for old, the Committee is adamant that the policy must be like for like at a minimum, and CFA must support Brigades to return to status quo after an incident.

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:36

JOINT VOLUNTEERISM COMMITTEE - 2 MINUTE BRIEFING

Volunteerism

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

NATIONAL EMERGENCY MEDAL

CFA is well advanced with the planning and conduct of presentation ceremonies for members receiving the National Emergency Medal. In conjunction with Region and District staff, OTV staff are pre-planning ceremonies that fit in with members’ time and opportunity, this requiring some consideration of local impacts such as harvest, upcoming Fire Danger Period and the wishes of members for the timing and location of presentation events.  It should be noted that as a result some ceremonies are planned in conjunction with Regions and Districts during 2014.

VFBV senior representatives have witnessed many of the early ceremonies and agree with CFA that there is overwhelming acceptance and positive feedback for the events.

Members should be made aware that if any volunteer believes that would meet the eligibility criteria and have not been nominated to date, there is the opportunity to nominate at any time as there is no prescribed cut-off date.

VOLUNTEER SUPPORT PROGRAM

CFA has advised that additional field resources (31 additional project personnel) will be engaged and deployed within the Membership Sustainability and Member Welfare Projects for an extended 12 month trial. The Program Steering Committee and Working Group are actively working towards developing an ongoing volunteer support resource model – known to be a ‘BAISB Model – Business as it should be’.

VFBV representation at both Steering and Working Group levels is pursuing a ‘directly embedded model’ that would see 64 full time resources deployed to work directly with Brigades and volunteers – closely aligned to Fire and Emergency Management field support resources.

JUNIOR VOLUNTEER DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM - JVDP

Congratulations to the 23 members who recently we were supported by CFA and the Government’s Valuing Volunteers Program and travelled to Sydney to participate in the Australian National Fire Cadet Championships in October.  Eighteen juniors accompanied by five junior leaders represented CFA with distinction and by all reports had a fulfilling and great time.

The Chief Officer is considering a report that would devolve the management of juniors to CFA Districts.  VFBV delegates are keen to understand the rationale for such a move, given the great work of the junior program staff at HQ who have delivered a level of consistency and program support across CFA.  The experiences of the past suggest that while responsibility for day to day administration might reside best locally, the accountabilities associated with meeting statutory and legal requirements of working with children may well still require organisational oversight.

JONES INQUIRY

CFA is still finalising the third progress report (June-August 2013) on Jones Inquiry Implementation.

Although concerned about the delay, VFBV is more concerned to ensure the progress reports are accurate. The CFA report indicates 23 of 141 agreed actions are complete, 44 are on target, 64 are behind target and 10 yet to start.

With concerns raised by VFBV and the Joint Steering Committee, CFA’s Lex de Man has commissioned an internal CFA review to identify actual progress and what can be done to get things moving and VFBV has raised its concerns with the CFA Board.

There has been good progress on a few issues but many more seem to be dragging on.  VFBV is trying to work constructively with CFA and hopes the review will be the catalyst for more focused effort. We will keep District Councils updated on progress against actions to ensure the benefits are delivered in full at Brigade level.

Visit our website www.vfbv.com.au to review the action plan and CFA status report.

Published in Volunteerism Committee
Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:34

JOINT TRAINING COMMITTEE - 2 MINUTE BRIEFING

Training

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

DRIVER TRAINING / VIC ROADS HEAVY LICENCE TESTING

CFA has advised that discussions have progressed with VicRoads, our Gippsland Regional Training staff and external heavy vehicle licence testing providers as a result of VicRoads changes to heavy licence requirements as of July 2013.

Training requirements, associated costs, current providers and possible training options with external providers for CFA licence requirements have all been considered and CFA is preparing a position paper for consideration by the Chief Officer.

One likely option would be for CFA members to undertake the Drive Vehicle under Operational Conditions course PUAVEH001B then once complete and appropriately practiced under the direction of driver mentors and educators, undertake their licence test with a VicRoads approved external licence provider.  VFBV delegates expressed some concerns that CFA may struggle to meet demand for the internal on-road course if current resources are not significantly increased in the future.

The Driver Education and Endorsement Strategy Information Paper circulated to all Brigades for feedback in October outlines a strategy for CFA to plan for and introduce driver education and skills maintenance for all drivers.  VFBV will consider member feedback at the December 2013 State Council meeting at Fiskville on Sunday, 8 December.

ELECTRICAL AWARENESS PACKAGE

Progress has happened on the long awaited electrical awareness package to assist members in heightened awareness of electrical hazards including alternate power supplies – Solar, local generators etc.

It is expected that the Chief Officer will endorse the package shortly following a last round of consultation with a special purpose working party established to guide the package’s design.

CHIEF OFFICER’S ENDORSED IMT PERSONNEL

VFBV representatives sought advice from CFA regarding strong concerns that the current Chief Officer’s list of endorsed IMT personnel includes only 218 volunteers authorised to undertake a primary role in IMTs across the State.  CFA have indicated that they will follow up the matter and advise VFBV of the status of volunteers that have ‘slipped off the list’.

VFBV delegates also queried the surprising lack of notice or advice of available vacancies on some of the IMTTP Pilot courses, only to find that the courses were cancelled due to lack of interest.  CFA will investigate the manner and extent of the Regional IMT Capability Coordinators’ efforts in communicating to Brigades and members the opportunities that have existed.  The cancellation of pilot courses in 2013 which were scheduled over timeframes that were more volunteer friendly (weekends and evenings) only to find that there was no interest from volunteers is hard to believe and brings into question the methods and energy applied by CFA in filling such courses.

VSP TRAINING PROJECTS UPDATE

Opportune work is progressing across a number of high value training development projects as a result of the Volunteer Support Program.  Resources are allocated to five (5) key projects and stakeholder groups activated (including VFBV reps) to guide the development through the advice from subject matter experts.

 The projects that warrant scrutiny as they progress into early 2014 finalisation are:

  1. Recruit / Bushfire Skills Development – The replacement for the old Bushfire Minimum Skills (1999)
  2. Skills Pathway Map and associated training programs aligned to volunteer career development
  3. BOSP review and re-focus to guide member development and address risk profile gaps in Brigades
  4. RPL re-scoped and designed – A new way forward in Skills and Role Recognition that is practical and fair.
  5. State Training Guide – An exciting project to develop a consolidated reference and guide.
Published in Training Committee

HR, Welfare and OH&S

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

PRESUMPTIVE LEGISLATION

VFBV calls on volunteers to write to State MPs calling for support for the firefighters’ cancer law.  VFBV is receiving copies of Brigades’ and volunteers’ letters, and the MPs’ replies.  The issue will be raised in Parliament in December, but lacks Government support and Victoria lags behind; Tasmania now has presumptive legislation and the SA and WA Governments have begun putting through legislation.  See www.vfbv.com.au for how to get involved.

CFA PEOPLE STRATEGY 2013 - 2015

CFA is progressing the development of a People strategy to guide the work under five (5) key areas:  Leadership, Culture, Health Safety & Environment, People Sustainability and People Capability.

As part of the development of this strategy, CFA is intending to conduct a further round of their CFA Culture Survey to examine trends and shifts in responses from the first survey in 2013. The findings from this research will be built into the design and implementation of the CFA People Strategy.

MEMBERS IN RECEIPT OF DISABILITY PENSION

The issue of members on a disability pension who make an injury compensation claim requires some careful consideration by CFA and VFBV. CFA has formed no definitive position or policy to condone a person undertaking firefighting activities; morally and legally there is a need for some processes and rules to be introduced to ensure the welfare of the member and of the crew they may be part of.

The development of a CFA Position /Policy is in its early days, however VFBV is engaged in the progression of draft documents that explore the options for the management of members who have illnesses or conditions (recognised by the receipt of disability pension support) and how CFA may require medical and fitness for duty assessments of any member current or future that is in receipt of a disability pension. This may include the introduction of a reasonable adjustment policy that CFA could impose to introduce controls and restrictions on members who are assessed medically to be at risk due to their illness or condition.

VFBV would indicate that CFA membership is typical of the general population, thus with the many thousands of CFA volunteers engaged in firefighting activities, a similar percentage of volunteers may be impacted by the introduction of a CFA policy/position on this matter.

VFBV delegates will discuss the matter in more detail at the December 2013 meeting

OH&S CLAIM STATISTICS

Regular quarterly snapshot reports are considered each meeting on injury / OH&S statistics with interesting trends in the number, severity and cause of injuries across CFA.

Not surprisingly the vast majority of injuries are soft tissue, sprains, strains and minor abrasions with around half of all claims occurring in non-response or non-emergency situations. The recent NSW support deployment triggered 12 injury reports, all relatively minor.

The Committee members have recommended that CFA communicate to members some typical examples of injury causes with many being the result of careless / unwise behaviours and actions that could be avoided or minimised with greater awareness.

CFA reported that the Member Healthwatch Program is gaining high recognition as an industry innovation leader and is shortlisted for Fire Awareness Award consideration. CFA has embraced this program building it into the ongoing business and service to member’s arrangements.

Communications & Technology

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

REGIONAL RADIO DISPATCH SERVICE UPDATE

CFA has advised that due to industrial negotiations as part of an EBA process at ESTA, the planned roll out of the digital radio dispatch migration commencing with District 12 will be delayed. With ESTA operator work bans in place, no training for console operators is possible and the planned 8th December 2013 cut over to digital radio dispatch in District 12 will now be delayed. CFA will advise all members of the changed timelines for migration based on this recent development.

On a positive note, CFA advises that the infrastructure development of the new digital network is progressing ahead of schedule by Telstra and that early field truth testing is providing excellent coverage and clarity results. At the same time the Tait radio reflash program is steaming ahead with this program well advanced and a necessary step in getting all CFA radios digital ready. Training programs are also well advanced with CFA keen to progress the training for members in spite of the delays to actual migration dates.

LISTENING SET REDUNDANCY - UPDATE

CFA has advised that two solutions to the issue of the redundancy of analogue Listening Sets have received CFA Executive Leadership Team endorsement.  First, CFA proposes to engage a provider to stream dispatch channel audio to internet subscribers and mobile devices such as smart phones and tablet devices.

The second part of the plan is the identification of suitable digital listening sets and the prospect of CFA obtaining special pricing from the vendors.  VFBV has advised CFA that while audio streaming is one good option, the demand for replacement listening sets, in either portable or base format, is as yet unknown.  CFA is about to test the market, seeking expressions of interest from vendors who may have products that would meet the users’ requirements.

BRIGADE INTERNET CONNECTIVITY & INFORMATION SYSTEMS WORKING GROUP

The newly appointed CFA Executive Manager of Technology Services Justin Bree convened the first meeting of the this new Working Party. The question of CFA having data connectivity to all its shop fronts – its Brigades has long been an issue for resolution for VFBV. Many brigades proactively fund their own internet service by contract arrangements with independent service providers. The wide variety of connections, speeds, data upload and download capacities plus the difficulties of private email and access addresses makes the communication highway a very rutted and at times impassable track.

The intent and focus of this new working party is to identify the solutions and opportunities that may exist or are soon to emerge in providing brigades and senior authorised members with access to CFA data systems to assist in the day to day operations of their community service work. The future National Broadband Network capabilities may factor into better and price competitive options for Brigades and authorised members to link to the system. Opportunities for CFA negotiated service agreements and services forms part of VFBV’s objective in pursuing this initiative.

PAGER REPLACEMENT

Evidence from volunteers across the VFBV network indicate that there is a widespread dissatisfaction with the performance, reliability and useability of the new Alpha Legend pager. All members are encouraged to report non-performance, to ring the 1800 EAS Pager Help Line to resolve your paging issues.

Community Safety

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

FIRE PREVENTION INFORMATION BULLETINS

Delegates have advocated for the need to provide an easy and prominent way to update brigades on Community Safety (Prevention) processes & policies. The committee reviewed two draft Information Bulletins, and is reviewing their format, and publishing processes to ensure they will provide an easy to read format for brigades to use, whilst also ensuring they are not overused to prevent brigades from being inundated with information. The intent is to provide prominence to emerging issues, along the same lines as existing Operations Bulletins.

One of the first subjects to be covered by the new bulletins, will be the escalation process for brigades who have concerns around Fire Prevention Notices not being enforced in their area. Brigades frequently report they are unclear about the process they are to use to inform the relevant landholder of the need for fire prevention works to address a risk to life or property, and how to secure commitments from landholders on what they consider necessary to reduce the risk.

It is hoped the first of the new Fire Prevention Information Bulletins will be finalised shortly, for distribution to all brigades. Keep your eye out for this important initiative.

BRIGADE PARTICIPATION IN IFMP

The committee continues to monitor brigade participation and involvement in local planning processes, and in particular IFMP, to ensure brigades have sufficient opportunity to be involved in local planning and prioritisation of fire prevention activities within their areas. Following increasing reports of brigade dissatisfaction with their level of involvement in local Integrated Fire Management Planning processes, CFA instigated a state wide review through the Managers Community Safety to audit what level of involvement each brigade has in local IFMP processes, now that MFPC’s have been wound up. In particular, the committee is keen to understand that in situations where CFA employees (OO’s etc) are representing local brigades at these meetings, what processes are in place to ensure their views are informed by those of the local brigades, and how are decisions and information communicated with brigades before and after these meetings. Whilst four of the Regions have submitted results from their detailed audit, the committee is now awaiting the results from the other four regions who worryingly, where unable to supply the requested information. The committee will continue to monitor the progress of the audit, and hopes to work collaboratively with CFA to identify and solve any trends arising from the review that is inhibiting local brigade engagement and involvement in these critical planning processes.

THE ROLES OF REGIONS IN CAPACITY & CAPABILITY BUILDING FOR COMMUNITY SAFETY ACTIVITIES

The committee continues to advocate for the need to scope and develop policies and guidance around the roles of Regions and Districts in local capacity and capability building, for brigades to be engaged in Community Safety activities. A key body of work is the development of a Brigade Gap Analysis, that allows a brigade to indicate what capacity it already has, what capacity it believes it would be able to build, and most importantly, what area’s the brigade has little or no capacity or interest in, so that support can be provided through the District and Region to support the brigade in those activities. The committee often receives reports from brigades who are anxious about a perception that work is being “pushed down to brigades” and the purpose of the gap analysis is to provide an opportunity for a regular and structured conversation to occur between the brigade and the district around where it’s priorities lie, and what areas the brigade wants external support or assistance with, to take the pressure off brigades where local capacity or capability may be low.

Equipment & Infrastructure

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 09/11/2013)

CREW PROTECTION RETRO-FIT PROGRAM – VICTORIA LEADS THE WAY

This program continues to run on-time and under budget. There are 105 tankers in progress to be updated by June next year with the new Crew Protection retro-fit, taking the total of tanker to be retrofitted to 1048 tankers. The original program was for 844 tankers, with the additional 105 added to the program this year. These tankers were not originally planned for retrofit as it was hoped they would have been sold and replaced with new tankers by now. However due to no additional government funding for the fleet program in 2012/13, these tankers can no longer be replaced this year, and will now need to be upgraded to ensure all tankers in the fleet are protected. There are 22 Tankers that have been identified from the entire fleet that will not be able to be retro fitted due to mechanical or weight issues that cannot be overcome. These tankers will now be prioritized for replacement.

The huge success of this ambitious project is now receiving interstate acclaim, with CFA being asked by Western Australia’s Department of Fire & Emergency Services to install a crew protection retro fit on one of their own vehicles as a proof of concept. CFA representatives will be travelling to WA to share their knowledge on the program, and assist WA design and implement their own crew protection retro fit program. 

AD-BLUE NOW AVAILABLE ON ALL BP & SHELL CFA FUEL CARDS

Back at its August meeting, delegates raised the concern that brigades were becoming frustrated with the process of ordering AdBlue for their trucks through the Region/District stores, and that given the short shelf life of the solution, that it was unwise for Regions or Districts to try and manage centralized quantities.

AdBlue is the registered trademark for AUS32, or Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5% that is used with the Selective Catalytic Reduction system (SCR) to reduce emissions of oxides of nitrogen from the exhaust of diesel vehicles. An increasing number of new CFA trucks are being built with AdBlue systems in order to comply with every increasing emission standards.

Following approaches by the Committee, Fleet Services have now confirmed that authority to purchase AdBlue has now been activated on all BP and Shell CFA Fuel cards – so Brigades with an AdBlue Truck, can now pick up AdBlue in 10 or 20 litre containers from their local BP or Shell service station. Both BP & Shell have advised they are increasing the availability of AdBlue throughout their stores and have confirmed that individual stores will order it in if requested by a brigade.

AdBlue can continue to be ordered through DMO’s if it is more convenient for brigades, however it is recommended that where a local supplier can be found, that brigades purchase it directly, due to the limited 12 month shelf life of the solution.

VESEP TRAILER PUMP PROTOTYPE

The committee is involved in the design and evaluation of a Trailer Pump prototype which is being developed in time for next year’s round of VESEP (Volunteer Emergency Services Equipment Program) grants. The aim is for the eventual removal of stand alone Godiva pumps which due to their weight are becoming an OH&S hazard. The purpose built trailer will also have the capacity for a welfare locker to store water, googles and gloves etc and a planned 60 litre diesel fuel tank will provide in excess of 12 hours of continual operation, with a water cooled pump, which will be much quieter than previous pumps.  The trailer is being design with an off road capability in recognition of the environments these units usually need to traverse when used on the fire ground.

Wednesday, 04 December 2013 13:15

JOINT OPERATIONS COMMITTEE - 2 MINUTE BRIEFING

Operations

Joint Committee -2 Minute Briefing 

Issue 7, November 2013

Quick snapshot of the priority issues and actions worked through at the most recent Joint Committee meeting between CFA and VFBV. (Meeting held 10/11/2013)

MEETING WITH FIRE SERVICES COMMISSIONER

The Committee met with Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley on the 18th September to progress discussions around Operational doctrine at the State Level. From that meeting, an action plan is being developed to progress actions around the following key themes that were discussed;

• Incident Management   • Pre formed IMT’s   • Resource Management   • Rostering Systems  
• De briefing process & systems   • Volunteer Utilisation at every level of Incident management  
• Volunteer awareness training for Agency Personnel operating in Multi Agency Environments

A letter of thanks was received from Craig on the 8th November, thanking the delegates for their valued input. The committee looks forwards to progressing this important work with Craig in his new role as Victoria’s inaugural Emergency Management Commissioner Designate throughout 2014.

ROLE OF GROUP

The Committee wrote to the Chief Officer in June of this year expressing its concern with the perceived lack of progress in his review into the role of group, and requesting a Communications and Action plan be developed so that brigades & members could clearly understand where this review is at, and what the next steps are.  Deputy Chief Officer Alan Ellis who attended the November meeting of the Committee has agreed to meet with the Working Party (which last met in November 2012) sometime in December, so as to progress feedback received from Districts during the review period. At this stage, the committee is not aware of any final decisions being made as to the role of group review, and is advocating the need for all feedback received from Districts, Groups & Brigades during the review period to be fully studied by the Working Party, and for acknowledgment of that feedback to be provided to any brigade, group or member who has submitted feedback, with a response as to how their feedback has been considered. Members frequently commit a great deal of time, energy and effort to providing written and detailed submissions, and the Committee is strongly supportive of the need to ensure CFA acknowledges this feedback, and provides a response back that explains how their feedback/submission has been dealt with.    

ELECTRICAL SAFETY ADVISORY GROUP

Since 2008, the Committee has been strongly advocating for the need for CFA to review its policies around the provision and priority of low voltage fuse removal training and tools for structural brigades in order to ensure safety of crews during the initial stages of first attack.  The Chief Officer has now approved the formation of a CFA Electrical Safety Advisory Group that will be made up of subject matter experts, operational and volunteer representation to provide advice to CFA on a arrange of matters involving electricity. Operations Manager of Structural Planning - Ross Sullivan will be facilitating this group, with final terms of Reference hoping to be finalised this year.

SLOW PROGRESS

Unfortunately planned updates that the Committee had requested on Utilization of Volunteers in IMT’s, Multi Agency Liaisons to State All Hazard Committee’s, CFA Regulations Review, CFA Discipline Process Review,  2012/13 Pre-Season Briefing Schedules,  and 2013/14 Season Debrief planning was unable to be significantly progressed by the CFA representatives to the Committee. VFBV delegates continue to encourage CFA to proactively engage and support the Committee in progressing these important items and will continue to seek stronger focus & attention and working collaboratively with the committee to achieve meaningful and practical improvements in these key areas of interest to Volunteers.

Published in Operations Committee
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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