Open discussion of operational issues and the sharing of ideas were the order of the day at the Country Operations Career Forum held at DFES’ Cockburn Emergency Services Complex on Wednesday 29 July.
DFES executives and Fire and Rescue Service personnel from the four country career stations, Albany, Bunbury, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie, convened for the annual forum which examined issues that directly affect firefighters on shift in the country.
Deputy Commissioner Lloyd Bailey, who was also in attendance, said a round of forums took place at the regional stations prior to the final forum in Perth.
“This is a new initiative for us, with senior Country Operations personnel travelling to the regions to conduct individual station forums and listen to the concerns of country firefighters,” Deputy Commissioner Bailey said.
“Those that couldn’t be resolved locally were then raised at the final forum for further discussion and resolution.
“DFES is committed about receiving feedback from the ground floor up and also updating our personnel on future strategies.
“Ultimately it is about ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our personnel, volunteers and the community, and providing our people with the opportunity to grow.”
Some of the key topics discussed throughout the forums were wellness and physical fitness issues and training and personnel development opportunities. One hot topic was the relieving and transfer guidelines, with the aim of making it more appealing for firefighters to undertake service in country regions and provide greater opportunities around transfers between country and metropolitan regions. During this discussion, representatives from the United Firefighters Union of Australia (WA Branch), Senior Firefighters Scott Gamble and Clem Chan answered questions from the floor.
Assistant Commissioner Graham Swift said in conjunction with the regional station forums invitations were also given to emergency services volunteers in each region to attend a less formal gathering at their station and raise any matters of concern to them. A barbeque dinner and light refreshments were enjoyed by all.
“This was also a great opportunity for the Country Executive personnel to gain some insights from regional volunteers and it proved to be very informative with a positive response.”
“Overall, all the forums were well received with some of the unresolved issues being followed up as regular business.”