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MFB unveils Fireboat 1 Plans for marine fire station revealed Annual Report released Merry Christmas from firefighting families Eureka Stair Climb challenge

January 2013


News from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne Australia

From the CEO Many people have worked very hard to ensure the boat meets MFB’s requirements and firefighters are currently undergoing associated training to ensure they have the skills required to respond to marine emergencies. I’d also like to make mention of MFB’s ongoing recognition of long serving and studious staff members.

As the year comes to a close, I’d like to reflect on several achievements our organisation has made in recent months. I’m pleased to say, construction at the site of the new MFB training facility in Craigieburn has begun with a sod turning event attended by Minister for Major Projects Denis Napthine and a number of operational and corporate staff and representatives from other emergency service organisations. MFB is building this facility as a state asset available to all emergency services. The facility will aid emergency services organisations to respond to increasingly complex situations and ensure that all MFB firefighters and other emergency services staff acquire the skills expected by the community. The sophisticated and realistic training facility supports the state government’s aim of moving towards an all-agencies, all-hazards approach. I want to thank everyone who has been involved in the project and look forward to commissioning of the facility in 2014. I’m happy to announce MFB has recently unveiled an interim marine response vessel, a key goal of the brigade’s Marine Response Project. The vessel is a Promarine 10.5 metre aluminum catamaran and will be referred to as Fireboat 1. More information about the boat is available in this edition of FireMark. page 2

The brigade values the contribution these staff make to the organization, and we hold an annual ceremony to honour these staff members, and their efforts. The Long and Good Service Awards ceremony was held at the MCG on Sunday November 18, with recipients and their families invited to gather and celebrate their accomplishments. I was honoured to join MFESB Board president Neil Comrie and Deputy Chief Officer David Youssef in presenting this year’s awards. The ceremony was an excellent opportunity for the organisation to recognise the contribution of its staff in a meaningful way. It was well-attended by family members, who were all delighted to see their loved one receive an award. MFB operates 365 days a year and it is the dedication and commitment of staff that ensure continual service delivery at the highest level to the Victorian community. I hope you all enjoyed a break over the holiday period and wish you a safe and prosperous New Year. Nick Easy Chief Executive Officer MFB

MFB annual report released

MFB has published its 2011/12 Annual Report.

AFSM medal for Pete Egan

Its theme, “partnerships”, highlights the established and growing number of partnerships MFB has with other government organisations and sister agencies. These partnerships are essential as we are able to share knowledge, resources and work together at incidents and during training exercises. In the past 12 months, MFB has worked to strengthen its foundations so it can move into the future as a ready, resilient organisation. Some of MFB’s accomplishments outlined in this year’s report include: • MFB contained 90.6 per cent of structural fires to the room of origin, well ahead of the state-wide target of 70 per cent; • MFB firefighters saved 11 lives, responding to 3,591 medical emergencies – almost 70 per cent more than the 10-year average and 12 per cent above 2010/11; • A solid financial result, achieving budget projections and income of $366.2 million, an increase of seven per cent on the previous year. The operation surplus of $9.6 million will be reinvested in service infrastructure. “The Annual Report, available to read now on the MFB webpage, accurately reflects and showcases our organisation as one with trained firefighters, state-of-the-art equipment, community spirit and strong behind-the-scenes support,” CEO Nick Easy said.

Congratulations to MFB Commander Peter Egan who was presented with an Australian Fire Service Medal at Government House. Peter was nominated in recognition of the professionalism, leadership, initiative and engagement demonstrated in the concept, design, construction and completion of the Fallen Firefighters Memorial project. Pete thanked the team he worked with on the Fallen Firefighters Memorial project and said his was honoured to be nominated. “I will wear the award with pride and each time I look at it I will think of the marvellous group of people I was able to work with on the project,” he said.

Above: Commander Peter Egan with The Honourable Alex Chernov, Governor of Victoria

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Merry Christmas from MFB’s fire fighting families For many, fire fighting is in the blood. MFB’s heritage is made up of countless fire fighting families – fathers and sons, brothers, uncles, nephews and more recently, fathers and daughters. At Christmas, this can mean an empty seat at the dinner table when loved ones are rostered on to work. This special edition of FireCall interviews several of MFB’s current fire fighting families about what MFB means to them and how they celebrate the holiday season. THE SMITHS/FERGUSONS – a fire fighting dynasty Fire fighting is in the blood of the Smith family. Chris “Dizzy” Smith is a Leading Firefighter at Windsor, his older brother Steve is a Station Officer at Oakleigh, his nephew Aaron is at South Melbourne on A shift and another of his nephews is Brock Ferguson, at Richmond on B Shift. Interestingly, Dizzy’s twin sister Therese is a professional firey in QLD. “My father was a Senior Station Officer at the Windsor Fire Station and we lived there and at Brighton Fire Station for 14 years so it’s all we know,” Dizzy said. “It’s not only a career for us all, but it carries on the tradition my father started back in 1949. “I enjoy the opportunity to work with other family members as I’m very close to my nephews and my brother and sister. Brock and I are pretty close, so it’s like he’s a mate more than a nephew. I’m also good friends with his crew at 10B.” This year the family will be celebrating Christmas at Dizzy’s house. “We have to have an early lunch because Brock and I are on night shift,” he said. “We rarely do Christmas day together because we have to choose a date where everyone can be off duty.” THE DODEMAIDES – Paul and Lauren A firefighter at heart, having a daughter work in the corporate side of the brigade has given LFF Paul Dodemaide a greater understanding for the work done behind the scenes. Known affectionately to fireys as “Dodders’ girl” Lauren started in Community Resilience and now works in the Work Health and Safety Department at Burnley. “Growing up I always admired dad’s occupation so when the opportunity came up after year 12 to further my education, combined with workplace professional development I took it,” she said. “I think I’ve made dad realise how important the corporate side of the organisation is and he can respect that now.

Paul says he is immensely proud to see Lauren working in the organisation that he loves.

“Working for the MFB is an honourable career and once you save a life, you don’t take it for granted,” he said. “It gives me great pleasure when I see Lauren doing so well in her role.” Lauren also enjoys working with her dad.

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“I enjoy having stories to tell him at the end of the day that he can relate to,” she said. “We send internal mail to each other and sometimes I’ll leave him an email to read on his return to shift.”

Having other relatives within MFB Lauren said it can be hard trying to organise lunch on Christmas Day. “It’s not unusual if we celebrate a day or two after to accommodate shift rosters,” she said.

THE GANTS – Breanna and Graeme For Breanna Gant, an Administrative Secretary in the Central District office, having a firefighter dad was something she always admired. Commander Graeme Gant is currently working on the FOLD project. “My dad has been a firefighter for as long as I can remember and I have always been so proud of him and what the MFB does for the community,” she said. “When the opportunity came up for me to work for the MFB I had to jump at it.” Graeme said the whole family was proud to feel part of MFB.“I am so proud to have Breanna working in the MFB, and she has to do as I tell her, not like at home,” he joked. “We are lucky that the family will be together for Christmas this year, however I will be on call, so let’s hope it will be a ‘quiet one’.” THE GREYS – Tim and Phil Brothers Tim and Phil joined the brigade a year apart and when given the opportunity to work together as instructors on Recruit Course 105 they jumped at the chance. Phil joined on Recruit Course 87, with Tim following the year after (RC88). Phil jokes that he’s the “older, smarter and better looking one”. “I was the first in my family to pursue a career in the fire services,” he said. “Tim came to my graduation day and thought, ‘this looks like a pretty good job, how do you get into this?’” The pair wanted to be firefighters because “you get to play with big boy’s toys.” “Mum and Dad are pretty happy with our choice of career and enjoy hearing about our conquests,” Phil said. “Working together in training was good. The last time we worked together was at Richmond Station on A shift about four years ago. “It’s the longest we have spent together in years. We get along well so long as we are not living together.”

THE COWLINGS – Tony and Rachel For more than 100 years, the Cowling family saved lives and property through the fire brigade. SSO Tony Cowling and daughter SO Rachel Cowling both have memories of growing up on and around fire stations. Rachel always enjoyed “station lifestyle” and saw MFB as a challenging environment she couldn’t wait to be part of. “The role of a firefighter looked challenging, different and I knew it was the type of career I could see myself doing for a long time, and I’ve never looked back,” she said.

“I am very proud of my family’s history with the MFB as it something that bonds us all together.” Tony said the whole family was proud of Rachel’s accomplishments. “I can still remember that day (when Rachel was accepted) like it was yesterday,” he said. “We have all been very lucky to have been employed by the MFB, it’s a great job.” This year the Cowlings will celebrate together at the Cowling residence. “Hopefully dad doesn’t burn the turkey and it’s a great day,” Rachel said. “I wish all a Merry Christmas and a healthy New Year,” Tony added.

Australian-first marine fire station



A dedicated marine fire station at Docklands is one step closer, with the MFB Board approving further investigations into the project. VISUALISATION LORIMER ST APPLIANCE BAY

The fire station, which would boast direct wharf access, will be the first of its kind in Australia. Property Services’ Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Greg Pearson and Acting Manager of Land Acquisitions and New Builds Tammy Fisher, have been working on the concept for the past 24 months. The Marine Project Team has been involved in the consultative process with regard to the strategic planning for marine. The proposal will replace the current station at Port Melbourne (FS39). The 9,500sqm site will also be home to the MFB Special Operations Unit comprising of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), HAZMAT and Marine Response – as well as a five-bay fire station and administrative area. Early drafts have accommodated for a commercial, mixed-use area, cafes or other retail outlets as part of an integrated development. Currently, there are discussions with other government agencies looking at the site for potential co-location with MFB. Following the Board’s investigation of options and MFB being integrated in the masterplan of the Yarra’s Edge development, Property Services will investigate the financial viability and suitability of the site and ensure response times from the current FS39 will not be compromised. Whilst the cost of this project is substantial and the MFB’s forecasted budget has already been allocated, Property Services is working with Places Victoria on ways to fund and explore alternative options, never before undertaken by MFB, that would be of low cost to MFB to bring this facility to fruition to meet its operational service delivery requirements.

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Fireboat 1 on the water for busy summer period MFB has publicly unveiled Fireboat 1, which is now operational and on the water in time for the busy summer period. The 10.5 metre Promarine aluminium boat has been specially equipped with water and foam pumping capabilities, to assist in tackling marine emergencies in the Port of Melbourne and Docklands precincts. It is currently moored at North Wharf, Docklands and firefighters from West Melbourne Fire Station will respond to marine calls. The vessel was officially commissioned on Monday December 31 and its first call was to a grass fire in Newport. The vessel was funded as part of a $9.8 million project that will overhaul MFB’s marine response capabilities and will include current and future fire fighting vessels, equipment, training and operations. “The growth of waterside living, recreation, business development and burgeoning trade in the Port of Melbourne and Docklands precinct has meant that the MFB capability needed to be strengthened to meet growing demand,” CEO Nick Easy said. “It has been nine months since the blaze that destroyed the luxury motor yacht in Docklands. While this was contained and no adjoining assets were damaged, this new fireboat is a significant boost for the community and the management of fire risks in the marine environment. “Capacity will grow further with the addition of a purpose-built fire vessel, the procurement of which is well advanced.” In the past 12 months 100 MFB firefighters have completed Shipboard Fire Fighting training. An additional 40 firefighters have also been trained in Swift Water Rescue. Acting Chief Officer Peter Rau said MFB had access to a small fleet of fire fighting vessels. “Fireboat 1 adds to the fire prevention and suppression system already in place in ports and marinas in Melbourne; other emergency services, boat owners and port operators all have a role to play,” he said. “For marine emergencies, MFB will provide both a land and marine response.”

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Firefighter top career choice for boys

Being a firefighter is in the top three career choices for boys, a new study has Eastern Hill Station Officer Scott Mathews said the Friday Displays held at the stations shown. In a recent study published by the Herald Sun, it was revealed 4.6% of boys and 0.6% of girls surveyed wanted to be fireys. For boys, this was the third most popular career choice behind sportsman (32.3%) and policeman (12%). For girls, firefighter was the 11th most popular choice, with teacher, vet and doctor taking out the top three spots. The study, by the UK Centre of Longitudinal Studies, involved 11,000 children who were asked: “When you grow up, what would you like to be?” University of Queensland’s Dr Mary McMahon told the Herald Sun children were influenced by what they saw on television and by the people around them.

throughout the districts were often the first upclose encounter young children had with the fire brigade. “You see the kids come in wearing their Fireman Sam uniforms and they all want is to be a firefighter,” he said. “A recent development has been a lot more girls are talking about it too, which is nice.” Scott said parents at the displays would often talk to the MFB fireys about their child’s “obsession” with becoming a firefighter. “A lot of the kids are totally consumed with it, but the first time they actually stand beside a fire truck they are totally overwhelmed by the sheer size of it,” he said. “That’s why the Friday displays are so beneficial. It’s a way of introducing them to what we do and giving them a positive memory of the fire brigade from a young age.”

“We tend to think career is something thought about in adolescence and adulthood, but in fact children are beginning to think about it from a very young age,” she said. Pic source: Herald Sun.

Jack in an MFB junior chief uniform with Grace, Tahlia and Will.

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MFB golfers take on the country in Australasian golf competition Victoria’s team was selected from three qualifying rounds. Team members included Tim Badrock, The Australasians, as we like to call them, John Kelly, Tony La Sala, Paul Sandilands, Greg have been in existence for 36 years now Stephenson and Richard Stepniak. By Greg Stephenson

and this year’s event was as good as Unfortunately the Victorian team did not perform ever. up to our expectations with New Zealand taking It started back in the mid-70s when Melbourne and South Australia fireys met in a tri-sports format of golf, cricket and bowls, at Royal Adelaide in 1977. The Championship is unique in that it’s the only sporting event held annually amongst Australasian Fire services. It has forged unique firefighter camaraderie, provided many great contests over the years and nurtured many friendships and in the process.

out the Australasian Team Championships and Ru MacDonald from SA the Individual Champion.

As part of MFB’s Social Golf Club commitment to the community, nearly $7000 was raised that will go the cancer unit of the Ballarat Base Hospital. The event could not be run without the help of sponsors and supporters, and the organisers acknowledged PBI Gold, Ballarat Regional Tourism and Matso’s Broome Brewery, plus a number of minor sponsors, as well as the support of CEO Nick Easy and CO Shane Wright.

This year we about 200 golfers and their partners from all over Australia and New Zealand visit Next year’s tournament will be held in Penrith, Ballarat; many for the first time. situated at the base of the Blue Mountains in The weather was kind, although there were a NSW. few grumbles from those who live north of the border.

Greg Stephenson is on the MFB Social Golf Club

The Championships were played at the Ballarat Committee Golf Course, which lived up to expectations of a good test of golf but easy enough for all to enjoy. The golf format was for both individual and teams events played over two rounds, with a practice day on Monday to get to know the course and an Ambrose sponsors day on the Friday.

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50,000 steps and still smiling

He was told he was crazy, but he defied all the non-believers when Scott McGraw completed his Everest Challenge. On October 19 the 39-year-old South Melbourne firey (38B) embarked on the epic challenge to help promote the Eureka Stair Climb, which raises money and awareness for Whitelion and Interplast. Arriving at the Eureka Tower just after 5am to do an interview for 3AW, Scott kicked off his challenge just after 6am during a Today Show live weather cross. About half-way through Scott began to feel the pain but battled through to complete the task in just over 11 hours. Throughout the day MFB corporate staff and firefighters visited the Eureka Tower to show their support and cheer Scotty on. Several firefighters also completed laps of the tower with him, which he said helped to spur him on. At the end, a group of school children formed a guard of honour for Scott to run through as he crossed the finish line. Every major television network also broadcast the ending of the challenge. “It’s been amazing and a lot of fun,” Scott said the following day.


88 storeys, 31 times

1642 steps, 31 times

284m = the height

= 2728 storeys = 50,902 steps

of the Eureka Towe

r of Mount Everest 38 seconds = desc Pic source: Herald Sun ent time in elevator 11 hours, 16 minut es, 27 seconds = time to complete Ev erest Challenge 8800m = the height

“Thank you very much to everyone who supported me during the event. It definitely helped me get over the line.” Scott said he wasn’t feeling too much pain the day and was looking forward to retreating from the media spotlight and going back on shift. More than 50 MFB staff took part in the Eureka Stair Climb on November 18, including a senior command team of Chief Officer Shane Wright, Deputy Chief Officers Paul Stacchino and Assistant Chief Fire Officer Peter Thomas. To watch Scott’s Everest Challenge - CLICK HERE (Sunrise).

From top: Scott McGraw tackling the concrete steps of the Eureka Tower; getting a massage between laps. page 10

Fireys defend title at Eureka Stair Climb The Eureka Stair Climb proved MFB fireys are the fastest to the top, with the team “Rescue Me” successfully defending their title in the Emergency Services Challenge in November.

Made up of Scotty McGraw (9:34), Steve Axup (11:47), Sandy Hearn (12:46) and Kylie Evans (14:51), the team stormed home, beating other firefighters, police officers and ambulance paramedics from across the state. A big night of incidents the night before meant infamous stair-climber Scott McGraw missed this year’s Elite Race, however he still managed to achieve the fifth fasted individual time overall with 9 minutes and 34 seconds. The Senior Command team made up of Chief Officer Shane Wright, Deputy Chief Officer Paul Stacchino and Assistant Chief Officer Peter Thomas (pictured below) also successfully climbed Eureka Tower in turnout gear and breathing apparatus.

More than 50 MFB firefighters and corporate staff took part in the physically-challenging fundraising event. Senior Data Analyst Meg Cato and Corporate Planning Researcher Janna Shnaider completed the challenge after months of training. “Having a target gave Janna and I the all important motivation - a goal to work towards. Mostly we trained together, and we encouraged each other throughout,” Meg said. “Stair climbing is great for the heart.”

Top right: “Rescue Me” after winning the Emergency Services Challenge; left: Senior Command team; below: a series of photos taken on the day of MFB fireys competing in the stair climb.

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Long service and academic acheivements celebrated “I believe it is important to acknowledge everyone’s service to MFB and this is a great chance to do this, involve your family and also to accept and acknowledge our time in the job,” he said. SO Scott Mathews said his family “really gets a kick out of seeing their old man dressed in his best blues”. “I did enjoy the ceremony and it is nice to see that you are part of something The annual Long and Good Service bigger than just day-to-day station life and can awards recognised more than 1300 have an influence on it also,” he said. years of service to the community. Firefighters and corporate staff received awards for service of 25 years or more, all the way up to Station Officer Ian “Grinder” Grindlay and Leading Firefighter Harry Kiernan who have completed 45 years. Also recognised were the people who’ve completed academic studies in the past 12 months and recently retired firefighters John Hansford, Daryl Penman and Peter Doyle.

Academic award recipient SSO Gary Mann said the event allowed families to be recognised for the support they give and to be included in those achievements.

“The day is about taking the opportunity to pause in our busy lives and think back on the past service given,” he said.

“There were a lot of happy faces and my family and I enjoyed the day. I would encourage “MFB values the dedication of our long serving others to attend in the future.” members and of members who have undertaken studies to assist in their work role,” CEO Nick Easy said. Commander Rob Dean said he enjoyed sharing the milestone with his family.

Left: Commander Rob Dean, who received an award for 35 years’ service, with his daughter and MC David Mann at the awards ceremony; above: family members inspect a watch presented to an attendee. page 12

In an emergency you have to call 000 and say you want the fire brigade. Dad taught us our address so the fire truck knows where to go – Anden (8)

Firefighters a hit with the kids at Royal Melbourne Show

Moving the MFB stand from the government pavilion to a special children’s area at the Royal Melbourne Show proved a hit with families. The decision to turn the Victorian Government pavilion into a fresh food exhibition building meant emergency services stands had to be relocated at this year’s event, which ran during September and October during the school holidays.

Housed inside the Kidzone Pavilion, MFB, DSE, CFA and ESTA this year had a combined stand under the banner “Working Together to Keep Victoria Safe”. Victoria Police, SES and Life Saving Victoria added to the Emergency Services display. “We were all located side-by-side, making it easy to promote safety messages to the thousands of people pouring through the doors,” Leading Firefighter Garry Connolly said. The MFB stand was also given a new look compared to previous years, with SmokeBUSter no longer a feature. Instead a Mark-5 pumper was transformed into a walk-through experience, allowing people the opportunity to sit in the back of a Big Red Truck. All of the roller doors were perspexed (like the old Tupperware truck) so people could see the many tools and equipment pieces stowed onboard a fire truck.

From top: brothers Damon, 4, Anden, 8, and Kavlin, 5; MFB fireys from 47A with Pamela Carey and Michelle Ciego.

The stand was organised and manned by staff from Community Resilience, with assistance from administrative staff from across the organisation. “This year we laminated 11,300 fire safety placemats and more than 20,000 people went through our MK 5 Pumper,” LFF Connolly said. “Hosting a stand at the Show is a valuable tool from Community Resilience, as it gives us an opportunity to survey people about their home fire safety regarding smoke alarms, home escape plans and how they are linking into the media and social networking.”

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Blast from the past

As part of MFB’s expansion on social media, we have been posting weekly photos on the Facebook page featuring historic appliances, incidents and events.

en escorting Below: Station Officer Herbert Gre Station to Fire Hill Box his daughter Wilma from ghter firefi to ding wed her St Peters Church for 7. 195 in Edward “Ted” Brown

“Timeline Tuesday” has proved very popular, with the posts attracting heated debate about the year the appliance was in service and former fireys reminiscing about the variety of trucks and calls they can recall. This is a great way for MFB to build an electronic and interactive timeline that is accessible to the public. We welcome comments and encourage people to share their own photos and stories. Here are a selection of Timeline Tuesday posts we’ve shared with our Facebook followers in recent months. Be part of the conversation: Below: Morris Commercial respond ing to a call at Pentridge Prison in 1963.

Above: F irefighters Kimberly Johnson Keher an at Glen H d Jeff untly Fire Station in the 1970 s.


der at Ca

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tion lad ther exten a e w y rr e y 1900s. Above: M in the earl n o ti ta S e Fir

Firefighter ambassador to the UN As a Ringwood firefighter, Brett Cowcher never imagined he would be working for the same organisation as Angelina Jolie, Nicole Kidman and Celine Dion. But the Senior Station Officer was honoured when he was selected by AusAID and UN Geneva to become one of eight Australian members of the United Nations Disaster Assessment Coordination (UNDAC) team, six years ago.

He is now qualified to be a United Nations Civil-Military coordinator.

“The aim of the course is to improve the effectiveness of international relief operations and promote effective humanitarianmilitary relationships by raising mutual awareness and The role means Brett is trained understanding of the roles of for, and has responded to, an military and humanitarian actors international disaster as well as in emergencies,” Brett explained. being required to spend time “I am keen to provide this overseas at various conferences, knowledge to assist in MFB courses and training exercises. projects or policy development.” Since becoming a member of the UNDAC team he has attended four earthquake response exercises in The Philippines, New Zealand, Nepal and India. The exercises test the host country’s whole of government response to a disaster and is very useful in the country’s preparation.

From top: SSO Cowcher on a typical day at work and giving a presentation in Germany at a UN Conference.

On a personal level Brett said the experience had given him the opportunity to meet and work with some very experienced emergency managers, international USAR team leaders, and to develop some strong networks within the international humanitarian and search and On his most recent trip, Brett rescue community. attended the 117th United “I always look forward to any Nations Humanitarian Civil- of the events with the United Military Coordination Course Nations and UNDAC as they are at the German federal office of always well run and challenging,” Civil Protection and Disaster he said. Assistance located in Bad “The interaction with the UN Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany. always involves working with The five-day course was attended very experienced emergency by 27 participants, half of which managers and the end result were senior military officers is always a positive personal (various countries) and the other and professional development half experienced international opportunity. humanitarian and/or United Nations Disaster Assessment “I know that it may sound strange Coordination (UNDAC) team but I most look forward to assisting members. Brett attended as in another disaster in the UNDAC an UNDAC team member for team, as we are well trained and I believe that the team makes Australia. a huge difference in the early stages of the emergency.”

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Construction underway at new training facility

Construction is underway at MFB’s $109 Minister for Major Projects Dr Denis Napthine, million training centre in Craigieburn who spoke at the sod turning event, said inafter the first sod was turned last month. ground works, such as laying the gas pipes to The Future of Organisational Learning and Development (FOLD) joint project will feature 12 fire training simulation buildings and will be used by all fire and emergency service organisations for training. Construction will be carried out by Leighton Contractors. MFB Chief Executive Officer, Nick Easy, said that the facility would ensure the MFB remained one of the best trained emergency services organisations in Australia, providing the current and future work force with access to comprehensive international standard practical and traditional training facilities. “The Victorian community can rest assured knowing that its firefighters will have best possible training to deal with responding to increasingly complex emergency scenarios,” he said.

fuel the fire simulation buildings, would be the first step in the construction process, followed by the 5,800 square metre academic building. The first of the structural steel will go up around April next year. Deputy Premier and Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan said the new facility marks a new era for emergency services in Victoria. The delivery of the MFB Training College Craigieburn is being project managed by Major Projects Victoria on behalf of MFB.

Below: Hume Mayor Geoff Porter, MFB CEO Nick Easy, Minister for Major Projects Dr Denis Napthine and DCO Peter Rau at the sod turn on Sunday December 2.

“We are building the facility as a state asset for Victoria.”

Swedish firey learns the ropes A young firefighter from Sweden is hoping that experience gained working with MFB will help him land a dream job back home. Gustav Kniif, 22, last month spent two weeks the Burwood fire station under the tutelage of Station Officer Norm Olsen and C-shift’s Firefighter Tim Marsden and Leading Firefighter Matt Molloy. During his visit Gustav attended fires, heroin overdoses, gas leaks and car crashes, including this one that took place minutes before a planned photo shoot with the local newspaper. “The difference in Sweden is that we go to firefighters’ school for two years and only then we can apply for a job,” he said. Gustav said he is enjoyed the camaraderie and station banter, and while many firefighter duties are the same the world over, Australia has one thing he is unlikely to experience back home: “The reason Australia is interesting is because of the huge bushfires. That’s something we can’t imagine in Sweden.” page 16

Fire stations on show

Summer kicks off with industrial fires

The first weekend of December was a busy one for MFB, with firefighters battling several large incidents.

It was a chance for residents to meet their local fireys as Epping and Glen Waverley fire stations opened their doors during Fire Action Week. The events gave community members the opportunity to see the inside operations of the local fire station and meet MFB firefighters who shared fire ready safety tips for the upcoming summer fire season. The events were also a great opportunity to showcase the many skills of MFB firefighters, and recognise that firefighters attend a variety of emergencies other than fires. At each open day the car cutting was a main event, with young and old gathering to watch the road rescue team demonstrate how they safely remove trapped passengers by cutting open a car. This year Fire Action Week promoted general clean-up and maintenance responsibilities for residents who live close to grassland, bushland or vegetation.

On Saturday December 1, firefighters battled a blaze at the CMA Recycling plant on Palmerston Rd West, Ringwood. The fire was fed by large quantities of oil and grease coating the metal and burnt for most of the day. Firefighters used the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) device with great success to understand the extent of the fire and the fuel reduction strategy. The UAV is not yet being used operationally and is still going through the consultative process, with the aim of a 12-month trial. Fifty firefighters attended, including crews from CFA. The next day, crews responded to a large fire at a roll papermaking machine at the Amcor factory, in Alphington. Approximately 50 MFB firefighters worked in an extremely hot environment taking more than an hour to bring the fire under control. Significant damage occurred to the machinery with some damage to the roof space and MFB crews remained on scene throughout the night to continue fire duties. During both events, community warnings were posted on the MFB website to alert local residents to the health issues posed by smoke from the fires and the actions they could take to minimise their exposure. The OSOM (One Source One Message) alerts are also published via the MFB Twitter account, which is closely monitored by media outlets who were able to disseminate safety messages to nearby residents.

Right: an image taken by the UAV at the Ringwood Recycling plantfire. page 17

Graduation ceremonies heat up There was love in the air at the graduation ceremony for Recruit Course 107. Despite some strong wind and patches of rain, the pass out parade (held on November 8) ran smoothly and when all the recruits lined up at the end of the display no one expected what happened next. After the MC read his registration number out, Firefighter James Kemp took eight paces towards the crowd where girlfriend Cortnie Collier sat in the front row. He reached into his pocket, dropped to one knee and, to the squeals of surprise from the crowd, proposed to his girlfriend of two years. Throughout the whole course, the 23 other recruits on the course and the team of instructors kept the proposal a secret. His comrades from 107 were quick to congratulate him, and the video has since gone viral on the MFB YouTube page, being played on Channel 10’s The Project, online on the Herald Sun and many other websites. A total of 48 firefighters entered the MFB ranks last month, with the graduation of Recruit Course 108 on November 30. Graduates from RC 108 included a Fijian, Scot and Welshman. CLICK this image to watch James’ surprise proposal.

Firefighters from the two courses faced disruption due to relocation of hot fire training to CFA’s facilities at Sale, SETG and Esso facilities at Longford and CEO Nick Easy commended recruits and instructors for their patience. “The skills and confidence these graduates have gained is the direct result of the commitment and dedication of our training college instructors and corporate staff,” Mr Easy said. RC 107, left from top: Former Chief Officer Ernest Osbourne with his grandson FF Luke Giradi; FF James Kemp and fiance Cortnie Collier after he proposed; RC 107 unfurl their banner.

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RC 108, bottom from left: FF James Beard during a drill; FF Jason Ellis celebrates with his family; RC 108 present their flag to their course coordinator.

Celebrations as new Station Officers & Commanders graduate A new group of leaders have graduated from MFB development courses, with 20 Station Officers and 10 Commanders recently promoted. The Station Officer course provides important skills for firefighters to use on the fire ground and at their stations, including communication, team work, problem-solving, initiative and enterprise, planning and organising, selfmanagement and technology. Participants also completed hot fire training drills at various training grounds. Course Co-ordinator Acting Senior Station Officer Cameron Adams congratulated course participants at a ceremony held at the Leopard Lodge, Melbourne Zoological Gardens, on December 12. Later that week, a celebration at the MCG’s Tom Wills room was held for Commanders graduating from the 2012 course. The 10 Commanders completed an extensive 17 week course, which culminated in the Advanced Diploma of Public Safety (Firefighting Management). This gave them a greater understanding of human resources, financial resources, controlling multi-agency emergency situations, and policy and communication strategies. Course Co-ordinator Commander Brian Whittaker spoke of the hard work and dedication participants put into the course, while graduate Commander George Arnold gave an impassioned speech about leadership and the fire brigade. CEO Nick Easy and Chief Officer Shane Wright attended both events and thanked the participants families for their support during the courses. Top photo: Station Officer Course 50 graduate; right: Commander Course 2012 graduation.

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Our gold medallists Gold, gold gold! MFB firefighters excelled at the 12th World Firefighter Games in Sydney held in late October. Australian fireys dominated in the games, winning 295 gold, 165 silver and 103 bronze. Hong Kong was a distant second with 86 gold. A team of firefighters from Melbourne competed in a variety of sports including cycling, rowing, rugby and swimming. Windsor Station Officer Shane Gore (35D) amassed an impressive 10 gold medals and four silver in swimming. Cycling was well represented, with Northcote Leading Firefighter Peter Leahy (13B) winning the over-50s road race and a silver medal for Acting Commander Mark Lyons in the over-50s time trial. Firefighter Rob Foote from Thomastown FS won two gold medals – one in the 2km indoor rowing event and another with the Hungarian Team in another indoor rowing event. And Northcote’s Leading Firefighter Stephen Shipperlee also received gold in the over-35s Touch Football, competing with the NSW Fire Brigade Central Coast Team. Congratulations to all who competed!

Left from top: Windsor Station Officer Shane Gore with former Big Brother contestant and QLD firey Big Wal; SO Gore with Olympian James Magnussen; Above: Leading Firefighter Peter Leahy receives his medal; and the MFB cycling club; Left: Station Officer Andrew Luedecke.

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Firefighters entertain sick children The annual Peter Mac Christmas party, organised by MFB fireys, was a huge success, giving many children a reason to smile. Held at the East Melbourne Fire Station the party entertains children that are receiving cancer treatment at the Peter Mac hospital. It’s also a chance for their families to relax and have some fun. This is the fourth year and to Senior Station Officer Paul Juhlin has organised the event, and each year it has grown. The Victoria Police band Code One attended this year and was a huge hit with the kids. MFB’s SmokeBuster was also there, along with face painters, make-up and hair stylists for older kids and, of course, Santa. The children and their families come from around Victoria and the event gives them all an opportunity to take their minds away from the daily pressures they face. Firefighters on A platoon for assisted on the day.

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Burn table gives insight into bushfire behaviour

Above: DSE Fire Training Officer Greg Harry with SSO John Garvin

Recruits and strike team leaders got a lesson in bushfire behaviour with a DSE Burn Table presentation recently. The table can be set up to demonstrate fire behaviour including fire progression uphill and down slopes, how different types of fuel burn, along with the arrangement and size of fuel, and how the wind affects fire behaviour and suppression techniques. DSE Fire Training Officer Greg Harry showed how the table can illustrate safety issues such as hazardous trees, working in and around bulldozers and aircraft. The first session was with a group of trainers, which included Assistant Chief Fire Officer David Bruce and Commander Brad Quinn, to view a demonstration of how the concept works. A second session was conducted with recruit course 107 where aspects of bushfire were demonstrated practically. Further discussions will be held to examine whether MFB could introduce the table into their training and delivery. Senior Station Officer John Garvin said the table was a practical learning tool for senior firefighters involved in Incident Control as well as recruit firefighters, who may have to face these types of incidents on the ground. “The table provided the opportunity to get out of the classroom and show the recruits how fire behaviour works in a practical sense,” he said. “Feedback received has been positive and further investigation will be conducted to see if the MFB could introduce the burn table into future training.” page 22

MFB, CFA partner with Cricket Victoria More Victorians will get the fire safety message this fire season thanks to a partnership between the Victorian Coalition Government and Cricket Victoria. MFB and CFA have announced Cricket Victoria as a new partner in this year’s Summer Fire Safety campaign. “This will be a great partnership, and over the summer we will have Victorian cricketers going into bat for fire safety,” Minister for Sport and Recreation Hugh Delahunty said. “We will have the support of high profile cricketers including David Hussey, a batsman who has made more than 12,000 runs in the past decade. “I am confident that we will get more people thinking about fire safety through this partnership. These are vital messages that could potentially save lives.” Fire safety messages would be screened at the MCG during Test matches, beginning with the Boxing Day Test. Firefighters from MFB and CFA will attend at junior cricket workshops and matches throughout the summer.

Lucky escape for two little ducklings Two little ducklings had a lucky escape from a drainpipe earlier this month after they fell and became trapped. Ringwood firefighters attempted to capture the ducklings but they were beyond their reach. The crew used the water from their fire truck to flush the ducklings down to the next drainage pit. It was there that Firefighter Ash Brown was waiting to catch them and bring them up to safety. Firefighters then reunited the ducklings with their anxious mother. Thanks to passing motorist Salore Craig who called MFB to assist.

Classic Car Day

Rev heads and families flocked to Burnley for the annual Classic Car and Motorcycle Day. Hosted by the MFB Running Club and raising money for SANDS Victoria, the event was a huge success, raising $8915.85 for the charity. Event co-ordinator Commander Rob Dean said they were delighted with how the day ran. “To say we were excited with the outcome is an understatement as the amount raised was double that of last year,” Rob said. “I would like to thank all our volunteers and MFB personnel who attended as your contribution made the day the success it was.” page 23

Lucky escape for pet rabbit in Sydenham house fire Fire crews saved a pet rabbit when fire ripped through a house in Sydenham. MFB firefighters arrived on scene about 6:30pm on Friday January 4 to find flames shooting through the roof of a single storey, brick veneer home. Wearing breathing apparatus, firefighters entered the premises to search for any occupants. No persons were home but they did remove a pet rabbit. Firefighters worked under extreme conditions to extinguish the large fire. Much of the roof had collapsed and the remainder of the house was severely damaged by heat, smoke and water. The fire took 30 minutes to bring under control but firefighters continued to extinguish and maintain fire duties throughout the night. Firefighters provided the pet rabbit with oxygen therapy as it was distressed and suffering smoke inhalation. He responded well and was placed into good care. Nine appliances, including one from CFA, attended the fire, with approximately 25 firefighters on scene.

January 2013


News from the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, Melbourne Australia

Next edition – March 2013 FireMark is the bi-monthly magazine from the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board. Editorial enquiries and feedback - Subscribe now: If you would like to subscribe to FireMark, please email your name, position, company and email address to Please visit for further information about the Metropolitan Fire Brigade. Your Privacy: Please be assured your details will not be shared for any other purposes. Your email address is safe with us!

FireMark January 2013  
FireMark January 2013  

A bi-monthly magazine published by MFB for stakeholders and the public. This issue features MFB's new Fireboat, Annual Report, Long Service...