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Geelong volunteers lead training initiative

Published 23/08/2013

Local volunteers in the Geelong area are helping the CFA and SES to take an important step forward in emergency services co-operation.

The group, all volunteers with SES or CFA in the local area, recently organised the first Inter-Agency Training Forum for the Geelong Region, looking at ways the two organisations can align their training so brigades and units can work more effectively together in the field.

The forum is driven by participants in a leadership scholarship program run by Volunteer Fire Brigades Victoria (VFBV), the CFA volunteers’ association, and is exceptionally timely as the state’s emergency services move to an all hazards/all agencies approach to managing emergencies. 

The participants, Brett Nagorcka (CFA Belmont), Chris Rogers (CFA Highton), Susan Caithness (CFA Lara), Brian Vagg (CFA Modewarre) and Kylie Abraham (SES Corio) are all participants in the leadership scholarship program run by VFBV, which provides leadership training for volunteers that benefits their local communities and their careers as well as their emergency volunteering.

The forum received recognition through the presence of Victorian Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley and SES Deputy Chief Operations Tim Wiebusch in attendance.

“The workshop was well attended by SES and CFA volunteer and career personnel from the Geelong District which provided an opportunity to have wide discussion and focus on things that will assist both agencies work closer together. It was very encouraging to see the level of discussion and I am sure this will lead to new opportunities in the future,” Mr Lapsley said.

Mr Wiebusch said it was terrific to see each of the SES Units across Geelong represented. 

"Most importantly I saw an increased understanding of each other’s training and members getting on board with the opportunity for joint training.  Best of all was seeing the local relationships that were strengthened through the discussion between CFA brigades and SES units, which can only result in a more unified response into the future.  And that can only result in benefits for the Geelong and surrounding communities,” he said.

The Forum is a precursor to having CFA volunteers join in SES training sessions with the units at Bellarine, Geelong, South Barwon, Torquay, Winchelsea, Bannockburn and Corio, and SES personnel joining in local CFA training.  It is intended to lead eventually to shared training sessions, and has the backing of the CFA and SES regional offices.