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JANUARY 2017 Edition is available now....
WFDRT WINS PREMIER'S AWAD
AS A LONG SERVING MEMBER of Panton Hill Fire Brigade and a volunteer with St John Ambulance and Red Cross, Jenna Kelley enjoys giving her time to the community in as many ways as possible.
On 4 December Jenna’s efforts were recognised at the Victorian Premier’s Volunteer Awards where she was the winner of the Change Maker Award for her work in founding the Walking Forward Disaster Relief Team (WFDRT), an initiative that supports equine and pet owners before and during natural disasters.
Upon receiving the coveted Premier’s Award Jenna described it as an absolute honour. She is extremely proud of everything the Walking Forward team has achieved.
“Walking Forward commenced in 2014, while I was studying my Diploma in Public Safety – Emergency Management,” she said. “In our last unit we were learning about animals in relief centres, and it was then I realised there was no where for me to take my horse if a bushfire ever hit my property. I knew I wouldn’t be the only one in this position.” Jenna set about founding a team that could develop a database linking equine owners with property owners who would have the capacity to temporarily house animals during major emergencies. This would mean owners would be able to move their animals to a nominated safer place, and also access other essential services including: first aid/veterinary supplies, feed donations, animal and fauna rescue, and psychological first aid. Jenna visited Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley with her plan. He was extremely supportive. “He just said to me: “Jenna, we need this, make it happen” and so I did.” The Walking Forward initiative has achieved a great deal in only two years. Through building strong partnerships with the emergency services, LGAs and local clubs and business, the team has now successfully rolled the database out in communities across the State. “I’m so proud of everything we’ve achieved but none of this would have been possible without the support and contribution of many others. “I’d especially like to thank Craig Lapsley, CFA’s Peter Baker, my committee and all the people from LGAs and agencies who have supported us behind the scenes from day one. Thank you for sharing our knowledge journey.”
The team will now continue its work to grow the database, gain more registrations interstate, and establish ongoing funding and agency support, which will ensure the database service remains free for all community members. To access the database visit www.tepscon.community Please register here if you are able to assist others.
If brigades are able to promote the Walking Forward Disaster Relief Team and this initiative locally it would be beneficial to many. Whilst Jenna has travelled far and wide to give community talks on the National Equine Database and preparing horses and pets before an emergency she says more promotion is needed to get more people involved.
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Promoting youth, art and indigenous culture
Local Politian’s, students, brigade members, CFA staff and residents joined Captain Jamie Atkins at the launch of the Koori Art Project at Broadford fire station.
As a way to attract more young people to CFA, and to expose CFA members to Indigenous culture, Captain Jamie of Broadford Brigade set up a project with Indigenous and non-Indigenous teens from Broadford Secondary College.
Jamie, himself an indigenous man, wanted people in his community to be proud of their young people and CFA, and for everyone to learn more about the local Taungurung people.
Thirty students from years 8 to 10 joined the Koori Dreaming Art Project that resulted in their design coming to life on the doors of Broadford fire station.
Using his “contacts” Jamie was able to gather many favours from the local community to support the project, and was privileged to have nationally-renowned Indigenous artist Mick Harding run a series of workshops for the students. Many of Mick’s designs are on show in the Melbourne Museum and it’s been very exciting for the students to be able to learn from him.
Broadford Koori Engagement Support Officer Tracey Phillips said she “hasn’t seen the students so engaged and excited about something in a long time. They are so involved in every aspect of the project.
“It was important to design something that was relevant to the local area” says Mick. The artwork features Bunjil the eagle and Waang the crow, two ancestral symbols significant to the tribes of the Kulin nation. The water is Sunday Creek in flood and the tree includes a scar, the first step in making a canoe.
Captain Jamie loves having the art work on the station; he loves seeing people drive past, slow down and look at it and he loves that people stop him in the street to ask him about it.
But what he loves most of all is how well everyone worked together to achieve it. He is one beaming Captain.
2017 wish list
by Chief Officer Steve Warrington
At many times every one of us has to weigh up whether we have our life `balance’ where we want it. Work, family, friends, health – these are all factors that contribute to satisfaction levels with our life. In the summer season, we can find ourselves on constant alert and exposed to tragic results of fire. Each individual will handle these experiences differently – each day, each month and each year. We take pride in protecting our community; however, that should never come at the cost of leaving yourself unprotected – both physically and mentally. Throughout the festive period and New Year transition, we were fortunate to spend time with family and friends. These social gatherings must extend beyond holidays. Socialising within homes, restaurants, beaches and parks provides beneficial mental stimulation and physical activity. This is valuable time when our minds switch off from the intensity of addressing incidents. Time needs to be dedicated to resting too. Studies continue to show the detrimental effects from not getting enough sleep. A tired and drowsy team member will not be an effective cog in resolving an incident. Ensuring we eat healthy and undertake relaxing exercise will also assist in staying engaged in protecting lives and property. Whether a plate of vegetables, bowl of fruit, leisurely walk and game of your loved sport; any of these little steps assist in keeping our life balanced. For those of us who find our balance tipping to an uncomfortable bias, CFA has free and confidential support services available for members and their immediate families. Our welfare services are designed to provide a range of support options to meet different short term needs and where longer terms are identified, CFA can assist with a transition to appropriate services. Many of us relish knocking about with our mates – but sometimes we’re uncomfortable relying on our closest group. The CFA Peer Support Program provides support, acknowledgement, recognition, education and connection. This service is provided by trained peers provides a crucial link to welfare services, such as a chaplain or psychologist, and support on issues relating to incidents or other difficulties within their personal life, such as organising transport. Each CFA district has a chaplain, who provides pastoral care within their allocated area. Not limited to a faith, pastoral care includes spiritual, physical, psychological and emotional care and wellbeing support. As well our members and immediate family can access psychologists/counsellors to provide professional and confidential mental health services. During this intense period, make sure you prioritise ‘you’ to be the best asset you can be - whether you’re able to achieve this `balance’ individually or with support.
CFA WELFARE SUPPORT SERVICES Member Assistance Program: 1300 795 711 (24 hours) Peer Support Program: contact your local peer coordinator Chaplaincy Program: 1800 337 068 (24 hours) HeadsUP online resources: cfa.vic.gov.au/headsup
fighters up to date on developments within the organisation. It has also given brigades and
firefighters an opportunity to contribute items and make comments on a wide range of