Chief Executive Update

  Comment Banner May 2010

A message from the Chief Executive

David Place - medium portrait
  We are now well into the final quarter of the financial year and as many would assume much of our sector's support services are highly committed to the financial and business continuity aspects of our business that this time of year brings.

The Board has endorsed a cross-sector approach to the Sustainable Budget Commission requirements that will enhance agency responses. While the confidential nature of the topic prevents open discussion on the process, please be assured that we are taking a sector-wide approach.
  April 30 saw the 2009/2010 fire danger season officially come to an end. Our MFS and CFS crews faced some tiring conditions throughout the season including 24 occasions when catastrophic conditions were forecast across the fire ban districts. Our CFS volunteers responded to 1,042 fires, and a total of 85,440 volunteer hours were spent on the fire ground, with some of these fires posing a very real and serious threat to the community. This level of commitment is a credit to the 15,000 CFS volunteers who make up a significant portion of this State's emergency response capacity. They are however not alone, there were many others from across our sector who have given a lot this fire season. Our MFS firefighters across 37 stations around the State were also a crucial part of our bushfire response capacity and have worked closely with our CFS and SES volunteers through out the fire season. Further to this the support provided by many SAFECOM staff whether they are from the Alert SA, who on a national scale lead the implementation of the country's telephone based warning system, activating the system nine times, or the Public Affairs Unit, whose staff was deployed to the Pt Lincoln fires and are on-call 24 hours a day. Through to those that give their time to man the Bushfire Information Hotline and the imperative support provided by the SES to assist their CFS and MFS counterparts; it takes team work and dedication from all parties involved, not just on the fire ground but behind the scenes, to prepare, respond and protect our communities. With National Volunteer Week taking place this week (click here to learn more about how our sector is celebrating this important occasion), it is fitting that we acknowledge the tireless work of all our emergency service volunteers from the CFS, SES, Volunteer Marine Rescue, also those volunteers involved with water safety. We simple could not do without them.

The Joy Noble Medal also provides a great opportunity to acknowledge the outstanding commitment and contribution our volunteers make to the South Australian community, nominations of the 2010 medal are now open through until Friday 14 May. I encourage you consider nominating our volunteers.

It is also appropriate that I acknowledge a special contribution made by the youngest volunteer members of the CFS and the SES, who on ANZAC Eve for the eleventh year, took part in two ANZAC Eve Youth Vigil ceremonies at the South Australian State War Memorial on North Terrace and also at Noarlunga. Our cadet volunteers, in a sign of respect, joined other young volunteers to brave the cold and wet conditions and recognise the legacy of ANZAC. Congratulations to all those who participated and represented the emergency service sector.

With the fire danger season behind us we surge ahead into the 'off season' planning and preparing for the next season, evaluating and reviewing and progressing many of the plans that so often get put on hold during the height of the fire danger season; all this while we support our SES companions as they head into the 'storm season'.

The Board has endorsed and work has begun on the sector-wide training strategy with the development of the 'Learning and Development Action Plan 2010-2011'. This strategy will see a unified, cross-sector approach to the provision of accessible and efficient training and learning opportunities to all members of the fire and emergency services sector. The Plan will make use technology and flexible learning opportunities; this includes an e-learning pilot launched in recent weeks. You can learn more about the Learning and Development Plan in this month's edition.

There are a number of other sector-wide projects which are also progressing well, including the Emergency Service Delivery Standards project. Work is well under way with the project on target to meet the Board approved project plan.

The implementation of the sector's records management system is rolling out on schedule. Many MFS staff have now completed their training and are using the system, and next in line for training are SAFECOM staff. This is a great outcome for the sector and I look forward to the CFS and SES coming on board later in the year. Further details on the status of the Objective roll out can be found within this edition.

I would like to also acknowledge the appointment of our new Public Affairs and Communications Manager, Judy Davies. Judy's experience and knowledge is highly regarded making her a valuable assist to the sector. We look forward to Judy working closely with all agencies.

And finally, later this month the SAFECOM Board will visit the Copper Coast, taking the opportunity to meet with the SES Maitland Unit, MFS Kadina Station and the CFS Kadina Brigade as well as the Copper Coast Council. I look forward to sharing the outcomes of this visit within the June edition of COMMent.

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