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Online Feedback Session – Volunteer Training

By | News

All volunteers registered on the Volunteer Portal should by now have received an email from DFES asking for assistance in testing e-Academy V2.

The eAcademy Support Team have been working on a new simple and mobile-friendly interface to make it easier for volunteers to apply for Pathways and training courses.

What does this involve?

  • The online feedback session will take approximately 15-30 minutes to complete.
  • The tasks can be performed on a mobile device such as a smart phone or tablet, a laptop or a personal computer.
  • The feedback will help us fix any issues and fine tune our communications before we release eAcademy 2.0 to all volunteers and staff.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the eAcademy support team via email eAcademyhelp@dfes.wa.gov.au

DFES Releases its Statement of Strategic Intent

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People the key to building a safer State

The Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) has launched its 2018 Statement of Strategic Intent. The document includes the addition of a fifth strategic direction: A United Organisation with a Supportive and Balanced Culture.

This new area of focus gives recognition to the fact that people hold the key to building an effective emergency management service.

Fire and Emergency Services Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM said that some of the key initiatives to be introduced under the new direction include frameworks to ensure that volunteers are supported and better involved in planning, and training for DFES personnel on working better with volunteers including training as part of the induction for new staff.

“To build this culture we need to begin from a position of mutual understanding, respect and trust. We need to foster an environment where we can respectfully challenge each other and collaborate together,” Commissioner Klemm said.

“We appreciate that better connections and greater involvement from volunteers and stakeholders are needed in shaping how we do things, and recognise that there are opportunities to improve.”

Other initiatives to be introduced include a volunteer charter, a welcome pack for new volunteers, a volunteer engagement toolkit for staff, and an increased volunteer focus on the DFES website.

You can read more about the Statement of Strategic Intent and the fifth strategic direction on the DFES Volunteer Portal here. This new focus will be incorporated into DFES’ refreshed strategic plan, which is currently being reviewed

LATE NEWS – 2018 VFRSAWA DFES Annual State Junior Championships

By | News

The 2018 Annual State Junior Championships will be held at Gil Frazer Reserve, North Fremantle (Cnr John and Johanna Streets – the home of the North Fremantle Sporting Clubs) on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th November 2018.

24 Sub-Junior and 19 Junior teams from 14 Brigades (including Corio VFB from Victoria) will compete in a number of events to test their skills and teamwork against each other.  It is always a great event and we encourage everybody to come along and enjoy themselves.

The RAC Helicopter experience (their virtual reality simulation of Rescue 651) will be at the Reserve on Saturday and the North Fremantle Sporting Clubs canteen will be open all weekend.2018 VFRSAWA State Junior Championships – Program – Final

Looking forward to seeing everybody there!

Click2018 VFRSAWA State Junior Championships – Program – Final here for the program

Response to Article in AVBFB Newsletter

By | Media Release, News

We have received a few phone calls from our members following an article that appeared in the Association of Volunteer Bush Fire Brigades (AVBFB) newsletter recently and we thought it timely to clarify this to our members.

We thank the AVBFB for highlighting some errors in the recently released Department of Fire & Emergency Services (DFES) Annual Report; however, in the interests of accuracy, we would like to correct a few errors and misconceptions put forward in their article.

Our association changed its name from Western Australian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association in 1998 following the change in our Service name to the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service (VFRS). Our current name – Volunteer Fire & Rescue Services Association of WA (Inc) – was resolved at our AGM in September 2017.

There are currently 94 VFRS Brigades in Western Australia for whom DFES has direct responsibility – plus an additional 5 private Brigades that operate under MOU with mining companies. 90 of these Brigades (including all 5 private Brigades, plus Tammin Volunteer Fire & Emergency Service) are financial members of the VFRSA.

It should also be noted that the VFRS are on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks of a year – dealing with not only landscape fires, but road crash rescue, structural fires and hazardous material incidents. In addition, as an integral part of their communities, they visit local schools, nursing homes and the like to reinforce fire safety messages – as well as assisting with reducing fire risks in their communities. In 2017/18 VFRS Brigades attended 5,622 incidents – including 2,318 fires and 972 rescues.

We believe it is disingenuous of the AVBFB to compare the funding of our Associations, given our Brigades are the responsibility of DFES, while Bush Fire Brigades are owned and operated by local government – a point they have been very vocal in supporting. Logically, the AVBFB should be seeking further support from local governments, over and above the generous grant currently received from the State.

It should be noted that our Association – in the interests of complete transparency – complies with both the spirit and intent of Associations Incorporation Act 2015; specifically, with regards to keeping lists of members and providing information to members when requested. This also includes circulating the minutes of each Executive meeting within 14 days of the meeting.The funding amounts listed in the DFES Annual Report are also misleading – the sum of $400,000 noted as being provided to our Association comprises an administration grant of $236,000 – the balance is a budget limit for the organisation and management of our VFRS competitions that is not always fully utilised. These competitions, both Junior and Senior, are an important feature of volunteer attraction and retention for DFES.

Brigades should by now have received their copy of the Association’s annual report and if you or your members have any queries with regards to the information contained within it, please contact the Association office.

VFRS and VFES Leaders Gather for Midwest Gascoyne Forum

By | News

Association Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling joined DFES Regional staff and Brigade officers from the Midwest Gascoyne region when they gathered at the Geraldton VFRS on Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th October for the Midwest Gascoyne Regional Forum for VFRS and VFES.  Over the two days, they received information sessions from a variety of presenters, including Chief Superintendent Paul Carr (DFES Direction and Objectives), Tamara Callaghan (Leadership Skills), DO John Wheelock (Mitigation and Strike Teams), Angie Molyneux (Health and Safety Matters) and David Evenis (Pathways and e-Academy).  At the end of the Forum, Superintendent Craig Smith ran a short question and answer session and EO Neuzerling provided a brief outline on what we are up to on behalf of our members.

Our thanks to Superintendent Craig Smith and his staff for organising the Forum and for their kind invitation to the Association to attend.  The dinner on Saturday night was a happy and noisy affair – with much frivolity.  Beware the Carnarvon and Mullewa boys – especially when they’re together – they’re not backward in enjoying themselves!

Reappointment of FES Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM

By | News

The Association was pleased to read the following announcement on the Public Sector Commissioner website on Friday 19th October:

The Public Sector Commissioner today announced that on 26 September 2018, the Governor in Executive Council approved the reappointment of Mr Darren Klemm to the office titled Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services for a five (5) year term commencing on 20 March 2019.

Mr Klemm was first appointed to Commissioner, Department of Fire and Emergency Services on 19 September 2017.

The reappointment followed consultation with the Minister for Emergency Services.

The Public Sector Commissioner extended her gratitude to Mr Klemm for his ongoing contribution to the Western Australian public sector.

We congratulate the Commissioner on his reappointment and look forward to continuing our strong working relationship with him to ensure Western Australian communities get the best Emergency Services possible.

DFES Operational Fleet Board

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The Association has been invited to provide a representative on the DFES Operational Fleet Project Board, and as the Board position is a governance and management role, Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling will be representing the VFRSA.  The initial meeting will be held this Friday, 26th October.

It is envisaged that the Board will:

  • provide advice, guidance and support to the Project Sponsor (Chief Superintendent Brad Delavale)
  • raise risks and issues identified by respective areas of responsibility (in our case the VFRS members)
  • assist in communicating project status updates to members
  • endorse change management and project methodologies
  • review and endorse fleet acquisition and project priorities
  • identify impacts that may affect the Operational Fleet Project

Project Advisory Teams (PATs) will be put together where required to discuss the operational aspects of specific appliance types and expressions of interest will be sought as and when they are required.

Youth Committee Meeting

By | News

The next meeting of the VFRSA / Arc Infrastructure Youth Committee will be held this Saturday, 27th October at the Association’s offices.  This will be the first time that all eight of the representatives will be in the one room since the AFAC Conference – where they ran amok, but seemed to also enjoy themselves 😊.

We welcome Callum O’Connell from Tom Price VFRS, who is joining us as the representative from the North West Zone.

If you have anything you’d like to raise with the Youth Committee (or you’d like further information on the Committee), please contact Kaitlyn at the Association office (admin@frsvols.asn.au) – we are in the process of creating a Youth Committee email address and this will be advised to all Brigades once available.

Operational Fleet Project – Inaugural Update

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The new Operational Fleet Project has released its first update on their progress to date.

As you can see, it is relatively early in the process but with a renewed operational focus and a purpose specific project team, we are expecting a much better outcome than the previous fleet project.

It should be noted that much of the initial Association consultation has been focused on governance of the project and that individual Project Teams will be created as required with regards to the operational component of the fleet.  We will be seeking expressions of interest from our members as and when these teams are being formed.

Chief Superintendent Delavale is happy to receive any suggestions or information you feel may be of benefit, however please be aware that his available time may be limited due to the scope of the project.  If you wish to contact the project team, you can do so at operationalfleetproject@dfes.wa.gov.au

If you have any queries with regards to the contents of the update, please do not hesitate to contact the Association office.


Update on Group Call Replacement

By | News

Brigades would have received Operational Circular 71-2018 – Group Call Replacement Project, Outcomes of Launch Rollback – via email from the Association office on Friday 5th October (as part of the DFES Circulars issued 21/09 to 05/10).

Captains/Secretaries should make Brigade members aware of the new number that will appear (08 6173-7200) on their phones.  In addition, each Brigade has been assigned a new “Alert Number” to allow them to initial group calls themselves.  This is available from the Association office.

If your Brigade initiates Group Calls for your members, please contact Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling via email executive@frsvols.asn.au and this will be provided to you.  Note, the number will not be provided to personal or work email addresses and will only be provided to the Brigade’s official email address.

If you have any queries, please contact Jodie.