Country Fire Authority Q2 results overview
CFA has transitioned to its Year Two Outcomes Framework and provided data for all measures in the Year Two Framework. CFA recognise that as outcomes reporting matures, they will continue to review and refine indicators over time.
Appendix A provides a complete report of CFA Outcomes Framework data reported in Q2.
Fire fatalities and injuries
CFA’s vision for the future is for zero fire fatalities and fire related injuries in the country area of Victoria, however CFA did not meet this aspirational target in Q2.
FSIM notes that meeting the target of zero fatalities and injuries is complex and that CFA is undertaking a range of activities to reduce fire fatalities and fire-related injuries. For example, CFA is collaborating with Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC) to develop a suite of tools to inform prevention, preparedness and response activities including:
- a residential fire safety mapping tool to assist program planners in targeting prevention and preparedness programs to specific local and neighbourhood risk factors
- a Victorian fire risk register which combines census data to develop residential fire risk ratings across all CFA districts
- linking CFA incident data with Ambulance Victoria injury data for the same incidents, allowing CFA to consistently identify the frequency, nature and severity of injuries from fires, leading to improved understanding of the overall burden of fire related injuries.
FSIM notes that CFA is also collaborating with FRV to develop an annual Fire Fatality Insights workshop. Furthermore, CFA incident data has been used to inform Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) doctrine ‘Residential Fire Fatality and Injury Prevention Strategy: Towards Zero Fatalities’.
FSIM supports CFA’s commitment to reduce the number of fire related fatalities and injuries to zero through multi organisation collaborations and the use of CFA incident data in research and development of new prevention, preparedness and response programs.
CFA assesses competency of CFA members against both National Unit of Competency and enterprise training. CFA did not meet its baseline relating to the average number of training courses expected to be offered during Q2 due to:
- ongoing work to ensure compliance for all training undertaken against National Units of Competency as prescribed by the Victorian Regulator for Vocational Education and Training, the VRQA and
- limited training opportunity resulting from multiple public health-related lockdowns and disruptions.
CFA reports that strategies are in place to ensure compliance and increase in training courses. This includes the development of state-wide training work plans and schedules that take into account Victoria’s current health-related directions. FSIM will continue to monitor this indicator and will work with CFA to obtain further insights on the extent to which CFA staff and volunteer competencies align with CFA training strategies and expectations.
Volunteers under the age of 40
CFA did not meet the baseline for volunteers under the age of 40 in Q2 and FSIM notes the number of volunteers under the age of 40 has remained consistent since the beginning of the reform. An ageing population, rural decline and the required efforts to maintain current volunteer levels are ongoing challenges recognised by CFA.
CFA has introduced a Young Adults Advisory Committee to explore issues regarding leadership, recruitment and retention of young people. CFA is also nearing release of the Volunteer Recruitment Hub Registration Module which will provide it with demographic insights of new and transferring members which will aid in the development of targeted recruitment strategies.
FSIM acknowledges the challenges CFA faces maintaining an active cohort of young volunteers particularly in low density rural areas. FSIM looks forward to learning more about how CFA will address this issue in the future.
CFA has revised the definition of leadership from select brigade operational ranks (Captain, 1st through to 4th Lieutenant) to a more inclusive definition of leadership. The revised definition includes volunteer leadership roles categorised as Brigade Management Team (BMT) and Group Management Teams (GMT). As a result of this change, CFA met the female leadership baseline this quarter and also reached the Year Two to Five Fire Services Implementation Plan action target of 15 per cent of brigade leadership roles being held by women.
It is clear that leadership is broader than operational rank. CFA’s updated leadership definition incorporates a larger spread of leadership roles occupied by female volunteers including some non-operational roles and operational leadership roles that were previously not recognised (such as Brigade Training Coordinator, Brigade Community Safety Coordinator and Group Officer roles). FSIM will continue to monitor the number of female volunteers in brigade leadership roles as CFA continues to implement its diversity and inclusion strategies throughout the year.
Fire Rescue Victoria Q2 results overview
FRV’s transition to the Year Two Outcomes Framework continues to progress. FRV continues to report on Year One Outcomes Framework measures and has provided five Year Two Outcomes Framework indicators and proxy measures in Q2. FRV has not developed 2021-22 targets for Year One Outcomes Framework measures as it did not plan to report on these measures beyond June 2021, and is using the 2020-21 targets while finalising indicators for FY 2021-22, as noted in the data tables at Appendix B.
Appendix B provides a complete report of FRV Outcomes Framework data reported in Q2.
FRV did not meet the FY 2020-21 Q2 target for community engagement and the FSIM notes that FRV’s community engagement activities have been significantly impacted by COVID-19 related restrictions since the beginning of the reform.
FRV continues to deliver the Firelighting Consequence Awareness Program (Firecap), however FRV continues to be constrained in delivering a multitude of programs due to COVID-19 related restrictions and the number of staff returning positive COVID-19 tests and/or requiring to isolate after being identified as close contacts. FRV reports that this has impacted FRV’s ability to maintain minimum crew numbers for operational response, and as a result, delivery of non-urgent programs by firefighters was paused considering the impacts of COVID-19, for the safety of the community and firefighters.
FSIM notes that FRV has yet to meet the FY 2020-21 target and continues to explore and adapt its community engagement program to COVID-19 restrictions. FSIM supports FRV exploring alternative channels to deliver critical community engagement programs noting potential impacts on the prevention and preparedness capabilities of the Victorian community.
With the easing of restrictions, FSIM anticipates an increase in FRV community engagement activities in Q3, noting FRV have advised that there may be some reluctance for schools and senior groups to engage in such programs while the risk of contracting COVID-19 remains high
Specialist skills maintenance and core skills maintenance did not meet the Q2 FY 2020-21 Target.
Specialist skills maintenance
FRV reports that COVID-19 continues to impact results and that maintaining minimum staff crewing levels are being prioritised over specialist skills maintenance, such as marine and heavy rescue skills. FRV reports that COVID-19 restrictions and isolation requirements will continue to impact specialist skills maintenance results.
FSIM notes the importance of maintaining minimum staff crewing levels as a priority, whilst also balancing the need for adequate numbers of trained specialists to maintain operational capability.
Core skills maintenance
FRV reports on Division A (former Metropolitan Fire Brigade) data for its core maintenance skills indicator and noted that training was delayed due to COVID-19 related restrictions.
As noted in the Q1 FY 2021/22 Progress Report, this result does not include Division B (former CFA) data and therefore does not provide a complete picture of overall skills maintenance across FRV. FRV reports that the capture of Division B skills maintenance data will commence when all stations and platoons have been trained in the use of the skills maintenance database and are regularly inputting the skills maintenance drills they are currently undertaking. FRV has commenced a comprehensive program to deliver training to 1,400 Division B staff across 38 stations. At the end of Q2, 20% of staff (31.5% of stations) had received training.
FSIM notes that the inclusion of Division B staff in results for this indicator would significantly decrease the Q2 result. As the objective of this indicator is to ensure regular firefighting skills maintenance is undertaken at station level, it is important for FRV to include all relevant staff in its data capture to understand the requirements of core skill maintenance across the organisation.
Conversations in the Mess
FRV did not meet the FY 2020-21 Q2 target for stations and work sites visited under the ‘Conversations in the Mess’ program, noting FRV have previously reported that this program has been put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions. FSIM notes FRV reviewed this program in Q2 and confirmed that the program will continue to be delivered in a face-to-face format. While the face-to-face format of the program was scheduled to commence in February 2022, the Fire Rescue Commissioner and broader Executive Leadership Team (ELT) have undertaken a comprehensive program of in-person station visits across Victoria and have attended FRV events such as Remembrance Day ceremonies and meetings with new recruits.
FSIM notes FRV leadership is continuing to undertake engagement activities with staff outside the formal ‘Conversations in the Mess’ program. Such activities support the reform priority to maintain an engaged workforce that feels safe and respected.
Hoarding and residential risk referrals
FRV met its residential and hoarding risk referrals FY 2020-21 Q2 targets.
FSIM notes that the FRV ‘At Risk Group’ was instrumental in helping FRV meet its hoarding risk referral target due to its continued follow up work on a backlog of notifications. The FRV ‘At Risk Groups’ Unit was unable to deliver additional education programs with external agencies due to limited resourcing. However, FRV is currently working with CFA to develop home fire safety e-learning modules for older people and people with disabilities, carers and support workers that provide information about home fire safety, how to reduce risk and how to prepare for fire events in the home. The module is scheduled for release in Q1 FY 2022-23.
FSIM acknowledges the efforts undertaken by the FRV ‘At Risk Group’ Unit to improve FRV’s hoarding risk referral processes, in addition to dedicated collaboration with the CFA to disseminate important safety information to ‘at risk’ groups.