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Forty Winks Discount for VFRS Members

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Forty Winks have reached out with this generous ongoing offer of 30% off the RRP store wide, or an extra 10% off any sale price in store (excluding everyday low price mattresses) for VFRS members.

Enjoy a better sleep!

Resignation of Executive Officer Jodie Neuzerling

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Hello All

It is with regret that I advise you all of my resignation as Executive Officer of the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Services Association.

When I commenced with the Association as Office Administrator in April 2009, I could not have imagined the journey I would take over the next ten years – I certainly never considered that I would spend three years as the Executive Officer, representing the Volunteer Fire and Rescue Service, its Brigades and more importantly the amazing volunteers who make up the Service.  I have sincerely tried to represent you all to the very best of my ability (whilst hoping that my best was enough) to ensure that you are appropriately trained, equipped and protected – both in an operational and legislative sense.

My time with the Association has also seen significant change – the creation of DFES and three significant major incident reviews (two by Mr Keelty and the other by Mr Ferguson) being the most obvious.  The challenges we have faced since the release of the Ferguson Review have been both operational and in a sense spiritual – and the survival of the VFRS as a Service will rely on the strong will of all who are members.

At this stage, my final date is a little up in the air and will depend on when the individual chosen to replace me can commence.  I do not have another role to move into and thus will be providing a handover of up to four weeks.  We will advertise next week (via Seek, our website and our Facebook page), so if you know of anybody you feel would make a great Executive Officer, please let them know to keep a look out.

I have made met some outstanding people (also some weird, but wonderful ones as well as some simply weird ones), made what I hope will be lifelong friendships and enjoyed almost every minute of my time in the Association. 

I look forward to seeing as many of you at the WA FES Conference (6 to 8 September) as I can; and I will advise my finishing date as soon as it is known.

Thank you for your support over the past ten years, it has been greatly appreciated and I will miss you.

Regards

Jodie

Emergency Services Volunteer Fuel Card Scheme Applications Now Open

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The online application form for the fuel card is now available through the DFES website. The application period commenced on the 18 June 2019 and closes on Monday 15 July 2019.  We anticipate that the fuel cards will be sent out mid August 2019.

It is important to note that applications will only be accepted by the officers-in-charge of a BGU as they will be the designated card custodians. 

The DFES website provides information regarding the Scheme located under the Volunteering section. This information includes:

  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Terms and Conditions
  • WEX Motorpass Web Self Service Quick Start Guide
  • Tally sheet 
  • Online application form

Discounted Gym Membership with Anytime Fitness

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Anytime Fitness has partnered with DFES to offer 20% off ongoing membership and no joining fee for WA DFES Emergency Service Volunteers.

To claim, simply head to anytimefitness.com.au/wa and enter the promo code DFES2019.

Happy gyming!

WAFES 2019

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Nominations for attendance at WAFES 2019 are now open!

To register and to find out more information, visit https://www.wafesconference.com.au/. You will also be able to register for the awards night at the same time. Please note that this year, DFES have introduced some terms and conditions, covering things such as travel reimbursements, use of photos for social media, etc. Please make sure you read these, and if you have any questions, let us know.

Registration closes on the 22nd July 2019 for Regional delegates, and on the 26th August 2019 for Metro delegates. Metro delegates please note that if you live LESS than 50km from the Perth Train Station, you will not be eligible to receive reimbursement of travel costs or accommodation. You should also note that places on the Friday tours are strictly limited – so if you want to get a spot on a tour, you’ll need to register as soon as possible.  If you have been on a particular tour in the past, your tour registration may be rejected to allow somebody who has not attended that tour to attend this year.  Please be mindful of this.

A reminder that places are available for two people from each Brigade, with a Captain, Secretary, or Treasurer attending to vote at the AGM. All attendees will be expected to attend the AGM.

NOTE:  you can change the name of the individuals attending up until the Friday before the Conference (30th August); however, if you register and do not attend (or skip some of the sessions to attend other events) you may be asked to justify why you should not be invoiced to reimburse DFES for the costs associated (such as flights and/or accommodation).  You will also be blacklisted from attending future Conferences.

Look forward to seeing you there!

No Internet!

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The Association Office is currently without internet access, which affects our ability to access hard-drives, print, and of course answer emails. The good news is the phones are still working.

Please bear with us while this problem is sorted out.

Nominations now open for the 2019 Firefighting Awards!

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These awards honour the outstanding achievements of individuals and brigades who have shown exceptional dedication to duty.

We’ve had some large fires this summer, and this is your chance to acknowledge the incredible work and extraordinary contributions of our State’s volunteer and career firefighters

Shire of Murray to host Bushfire Centre of Excellence

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Honourable Fran Logan MLA, Minister for Emergency Services and FES Commissioner Darren Klemm AFSM have announced that the Bushfire Centre of Excellence is to be based in Pinjarra.

The Bushfire Centre of Excellence will provide a purpose-built facility and a committed team of staff, focused specifically on the enhancement of bushfire management across our State.

The establishment of the centre is about bringing key stakeholders together to improve bushfire management outcomes through collaboration and innovation.

A key priority will be improved access to training, with flexible delivery models. This will be achieved by working to upskill current trainers and assessors in regional areas so that they can deliver courses locally; in a format that suits local needs.

Technology such as virtual reality, online learning and digital simulations will also be utilised to improve access to training, knowledge and resources.

Another area of focus will be knowledge management; looking at things like lessons learned and Traditional fire knowledge and practice, and how they can inform best practice in bushfire management.

The design of the building is expected to be finalised in the coming months, and is planned to include outdoor training spaces, a storage area for training tools and equipment, training rooms and office space.

It will also include areas for exercising incident management teams and incident control centre personnel, enhancing our existing capability by providing practical, ‘real-life’ training.

Next steps will include the design and construction of the facility, developing a digital presence and recruiting the Bushfire Centre of Excellence’s staff.

Victorian Fires in the Media – No Apologies for the Long Story

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There has been a great deal of criticism of our colleagues in Victoria in both main stream and social media as the fires in large parts of that state have devastated communities.  It is difficult for people who are not members of a firefighting service to know just how personally firefighters (both volunteer and career) take the loss of a single building – and how hard they will work to ensure this doesn’t happen.

There are currently two posts on Facebook that show a different side to these stories.  The first is by a volunteer firefighter and also has photos from the Bunyip fire, showing houses that were saved from the flames – you can hear his frustration in almost every line.  This is his post (in his words):

“Just back from the Bunyip fire in the Tonimbuk Sector of the fire.  It is unlikely you will see these homes in the papers or on the news.  For some reason the media prefers to show the small number of buildings lost to the fire.  However homes such as the ones shown here are well and truely in the majority on the fireground at Bunyip.  Some have been defended by vollunteers and staff of the CFA.  Some had MFESB or Forest Fire Managment staff protecting them.  A few, were guarded by home owners who fought hard to save their own property.

It is likely some were saved by a well placed drop from a firefighting helicopter.  Many are probably still standing due to sheer luck.  Most though are still intact due to a combination of all of the above..

All of these buildings below have one thing in common, the property owners had spent time to prepare for the potential of bush fire.  Cleaning up, cutting back vegetation, clearing gutters of debris, watering the surrounding gardens to create a safe zone, ensuring driveways are accessable to fire trucks and having dedicated fire fighting water supplies on site.

The fire services have copped some bad press in the last few days, accused of not trying to save some homes.

I’ll be blunt, if you don’t attempt to prepare your property for the event of bushfire and allow years of overgrowth to build up making it unsafe for crews to defend, don’t expect a fire crew to chose to turn up your drive and fight to save your home and their own lives.

Feel free to share as the owners may not yet know that their home is still intact.

The second is from a female firefighter who has obviously reached her limits – it is a sobering and at times emotional read:

“I’VE BEEN HEARING WHERE WAS HELP.

Let me tell you…. Help was working all day Friday and on the way home dropped their child off to family members to get on a truck and respond to save yours. Help was on the fire ground at 1700 on Friday and home 2200 on Monday night. Help was surround by fire, feeling the intense heat while everyone escaped. Help was holding a lady as she was screaming because fire was everywhere and she couldn’t reach her husband. Help was fighting fires while so stressed as her team mates where surrounded by fire with no escape and she couldn’t contact them by radio. Help was stopping and collecting pets that had been hurt and burnt and finding them help while still trying to protect your property. Help was trying not to cry as she listen to the radio to a tree falling on a truck not knowing if anyone was hurt..

Help was being screamed at by people for not being at their house when she was evacuating an elderly couple who had no means of transport to escape because in your eyes help should of been in 10 places at once.. While help was protecting your property, saving your animals, not eating or sleeping, listening to her friends being trapped while trying to help, keeping track of nearly 100 firefighters, not having a toilet to use, growing blisters on her feet, cuts on her legs, bitten by bugs and burnt by fire, and not being paid a single cent to risk her life, Helps family and friends were at home praying she was safe and will return to them.

So again where was your help- I was out there trying my hardest. #cfa #volunteers #firefighters”