Volunteer Firefighter International

Aussie Volunteers Bracing for Fire Service Shake Up

A string of high-level departures and a restructuring of career firefighter sector has volunteers worried about wildfire season

By Sarah Jane Bell, ABC

As controversial reforms for firefighting in Victoria come into effect today, some Country Fire Authority (CFA) volunteers fear the community will not be as well protected.

The CFA is now a volunteer-only organisation and its former paid members have joined colleagues from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade in a new body called Fire Rescue Victoria (FRV).

Related: Wildfires Lead to Surge in Volunteer Firefighter Sign ups

FRV takes over firefighting duties in major regional centres and outer suburban areas once assigned to the CFA.

The restructure has been a fraught issue in Victoria, with several high profile resignations — including the unexpected and unexplained departure of CFA chief officer Steve Warrington just last week.

CFA deputy group officer at Wangaratta, Lachlan Gales, said the reorganisation meant a loss of autonomy for the CFA that would have impacts on the ground.

“[For example] FRV staff who will [now] man the station will not have a wildfire tanker and the CFA volunteers will have a much delayed turn-out time.

“We’ve just lost a highly effective crew of career firefighters that would be out the door in 90 seconds, because FRV … will only have urban type appliances.”

Read the full story here.

Image: Jacob Carracher, CFA

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