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Committees maintain volunteer voices

In Victoria’s South West Area, CFA volunteers are working closely with newly established Municipal Fire Management Planning Committees (MFMPCs) to plan and manage fire across prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

In most cases, existing Municipal Fire Prevention Committees will continue as a sub-committee of the MFMPC’s and play an advisory role, providing valuable insight and local knowledge.

James Haley, Manager of Community Safety worked with volunteers and Municipal Fire Prevention Committees during the establishment of the new MFMPCs.

Consulting brigades and volunteers was an important step in the process, he said.

“We looked for their endorsement to establish the new committees and I think that everyone involved realised that they would fill a gap. Prevention Committees are great at what they do but MFMPCs are able to provide broader emergency management planning that works across a range of agencies and incorporates prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.

“To ensure that brigades and volunteers had a voice in this process; most Municipal Fire Prevention Committees will remain as a sub committee. MFMPCs will also have volunteer representation, such as a Group Officer or Deputy Group Officer to ensure that planning captures the extensive knowledge of volunteers.”

Don Robertson is a volunteer with the Strathkellar Brigade and a Councillor at the Southern Grampians Shire, where he has been closely involved in establishing the MFMPC.

Robertson said that Fire Prevention Committees form an important link between the council and brigades and will provide valuable advice for the new MFMPCs.

“Fire Prevention Committees have always been good at planning for operational response and will continue to do good work in this area. The new Municipal Fire Management Planning Committees will be able to add to that work, by closely linking plans from multiple agencies across preparedness response and recovery.”

“The concept of IFMP is terrific. It means we’ll be able to consolidate work and provide a clear picture for staff and volunteers from elsewhere about how we manage fire here.”

Municipal Fire Management Planning Committees in the South West Area are now working with Prevention Committees and a range of agencies towards the development of first iterations of integrated Municipal Fire Management Plans.