Some disappointing news affecting FIRE WISE – CFA withdraws funding

Over the coming months there will be some changes to Fire Wise arising from the recent, and extremely disappointing news received last month, that CFA has withdrawn its annual funding grant to Fire Wise despite a guarantee and reassurance that it would continue.  

Despite CFA being a strong supporter of ‘Fire Wise’ and ‘The Fireman’ for nearly 50 years, and in a turnaround from assurances of continued funding this year given as recently as August by key staff, CFA has withdrawn its funding contribution.  

CFA backed away from its assurance of continued funding in a letter to Fire Wise  last month advising the CFA grant would no longer be paid and that any future payments would only be ‘fee for service’ payments for advertising.  

We will find a way for FIRE WISE to continue  - and you can help

CFA’s financial support and recognition of the importance of Fire Wise has been a very important factor in keeping the cost of the publication to a minimum for decades, and has helped ensure a free copy of Fire Wise is available for every CFA Brigade Captain and Group Officer each month.  

But I encourage readers not to despair; instead Fire Wise will gather strength and find a way forward.  CFA’s withdrawal of funding is a very big blow, particularly after four editions were released when the turnaround decision was made,  and we have started working on ways to address this problem.  In the meantime we need you, our readers, to stick with us and keep up your loyal support.  

Beyond the CFA funding grant, the ongoing publication of Fire Wise is made possible due to reader paid subscriptions, support from Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and from niche advertising.  Reader loyalty is much appreciated and with your ongoing support we can use this situation as a catalyst to improve and embrace innovation and opportunity.  

Rather than letting CFA’s funding withdrawal make us fade away or shy into a corner, I am determined to make FIRE WISE even stronger, more financially secure and even more widely distributed.  Like the generations who managed ‘The Fireman’ before me I am more convinced than ever that it is vitally important for there to be a thriving and respected opportunity for the voice of CFA volunteers to be shared and for the unconstrained conversations about volunteer issues, ideas and opinions to be on the table.  A publication by volunteers for volunteers.

And you can play a part in ensuring FIRE WISE survives and moves forward even stronger

Even though CFA has withdrawn financial support, I know we have many supporters who understand the value and need for a publication such as Fire Wise and I will be working with these people to ensure our ongoing success.

The first step was opening the doors wider to make it easier for a greater readership.  As of now, and for as long as it is viable financially, electronic readership of  full editions of FIRE WISE will be free for anyone.  There are no associated costs – simply visit www.fire-wise.com.au and view the previous 12 editions in PDF format and view the previous 12 editions in PDF format.  

Additionally, I will commence work immediately to explore how to expand the ability for volunteers to ‘have a say’ as a regular feature.  

I will also be working hard to re-establish the funding hole left by CFA‘s late withdrawal and I have commenced work with VFBV to explore a range of options moving forward.  

FIRE WISE has never been driven by making huge profits and our core values and principles will not change.  Advertising has been a feature of the publication forever and has been limited to ensure other content does not take second place – this principle will continue but we will also be looking at opportunities to find additional advertising and content partners.   

I also need your ongoing support– the end user.  Watch this space for further ideas, actions and opportunities to get on board and HELP SAVE FIRE WISE.  In the meantime, spread the word and tell your  fellow brigade members and CFA colleagues about the opportunity to access free electronic viewing.  Encourage your brigade to continue its hard copy subscription.  Send us your letters or support or your fondest recollections of previous stories/editions.  And send in new stories, ideas and topics you would like to see discussed in the future   Email: 

As much as the news about CFA withdrawing funding surprises, disappoints and concerns us at Fire Wise - please rest assured that it will be used as a trigger to make this publication even stronger heading into the future. 

Let ‘s ensure our proud history continues

The publication has played a vital role in communicating with and connecting CFA volunteers across Victoria for more than 70 years.  Since the first edition was printed and distributed in 1947 ‘The Fireman’, known today as ‘Fire Wise’, has been one of the most important and widely read news and information mechanisms available to CFA volunteers, as well as the only independent source of news.  Since the establishment of CFA ‘the Fireman’ and now ‘Firewise’ has given CFA Brigades and volunteers an opportunity to contribute and have a say on a wide range of matters impacting on CFA, CFA volunteers and community safety.  

Fire Wise is a publication for CFA members, ensuring CFA volunteers across Victoria can hear and share information about new ideas, equipment, innovation, important CFA policies and procedures plus issues affecting the broader emergency sector.  One of the unique features about the publication is that readers help determine its content.  Fire Wise is the official publication of Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria and for many decades has been regarded by the CFA volunteers Associations as an absolutely vital part of keeping CFA volunteers informed and supporting consultation with volunteers about matters that affect them.  

The newspaper has grown and evolved with CFA over the years and at the same time has been instrumental in shaping, evolving and leading CFA to be the successful organisation it is today.  ‘Fire Wise’ is extremely proud to be part of the fabric of CFA and probably the most pure opportunity for the voice of experienced volunteer leaders, volunteer representatives, CFA officials and the everyday volunteer to be heard.  For a huge number of volunteers Fire Wise not only helps them stay connected with CFA and the latest discussions, it also helps keep the spirit and family bond of CFA alive and gives a platform to celebrate, recognise and respect the incredible work of the State’s CFA volunteers and   those who work with them.

 Since 1970 through until last financial year CFA has financially contributed to ‘Fire Wise’ and ‘The Fireman’ before it.  This contribution has been based on CFA’s open recognition of the important role the publication plays in communicating with volunteers, keeping volunteers connected and sharing news about what we do with families, friends and supporters of CFA.  

CFA’s withdrawal of funding is a very unwelcome blow and it heralds a new chapter . I ask that we don’t let this weaken or dampen the spirit of volunteer communications.  It is through information sharing and connection that we keep our proud tradition going.

Gordon King

Editor

FIRE WISE

 by Commissioner Craig Lapsley, Emergency Management Victoria

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Recognised with the commendations were Senior Station Officer Dean Opie, Qualified Fire Fighter Steve Giles, Leading Fire Fighter Joff Van Ek, Fire Fighter Sean Doherty and Fire Fighter Paul Purcell. In his

CFA is committed to putting safety first and in line with the Chief Officer’s Expectations asks staff and volunteers to not only speak up but also foster an environment that encourages everyone to speak up.

Since 1947 ‘The Fireman’ has provided news and information to CFA brigades, keeping fire-
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
issues.