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What does the American Red Cross do with data? – Brian Keenum – EMP11

What does the American Red Cross do with data? What does the American Red Cross do with data? The answer is plenty. Indeed, data driven decision making informs their entire approach to managing emergencies. In this episode, we talk with Senior Director of Business Infrastructure for the American Red Cross Brian Keenum, who recently provided the keynote address at the Australian Esri User Conference. During our conversation, Brian shares his organisation's experience using world-class...


Creating order from disorder through command – Ken Brown – EMP 10

Ken Brown (AFSM) is currently the Acting Deputy Chief Officer and Acting Executive Director Operational Preparedness with the Metropolitan Fire & Emergency Services Board (MFB) located in Victoria, Australia. His Command and Control experience is extensive and he is well known for creating mentoring opportunities for his personnel. Ken joined the MFB in 1983. During his 35 years of service, 29 years have been spent in the officer ranks which also includes 6 years at an executive level as an...


Nighttime Firebombing Aircraft – Wayne Rigg – EMP9

Helicopter firefighting at night In the past, helicopter firefighting in Australia only occurred during daylight hours. However, in 2018, Emergency Management Victoria led Australia's first trial in the use of firebombing aircraft to contain and extinguish wildfires at night. During the trial, pilots wore night vision goggles, which are used to detect and boost light. Regulatory approval for aircraft use in nighttime firebombing In this episode, Operations Officer Wayne Rigg (currently...


Emergency Medical Response & Wellbeing – Tony O’Day – EMP8

Operations Manager Tony O'Day is head of the Country Fire Authority's (CFA) Emergency Medical Response (EMR) and Wellbeing team. In this episode, Tony explains the role of EMR and the wellbeing programs that CFA has introduced to manage the health and well-being of first responders and other CFA members. Tony has held a variety of state and field-based positions during his career, including a stint as the Victorian Fire Services Liaison Officer for Victoria Police in the Counter-Terrorism...


Time critical road accident rescue – Joff Van EK – EMP7

Joff van Ek is a Station Officer with the Metropolitan Fire Brigade (MFB), and he has a passion for road accident rescue. He began his career as an operations centre officer with the South Australian Country Fire Service in 2003. Whilst in that role he had his first glimpse of emergency management, emergency call taking, appliance and firefighting aircraft dispatch. In 2007 Joff moved to Melbourne and became a firefighter with the MFB in 2007. Joff is a technical assessor and trainer with...


Mentoring Leaders in Volunteer Fire Brigades – Kris Wilms – EMP6

Creating leaders in volunteer fire brigades takes time. In this episode, I talk to Senior Instructor Kris Wilms from the Country Fire Authority (CFA) about the mentoring project she developed to prepare volunteer leaders for their role. Kris 's particular area of expertise is leadership and management professional development for senior volunteer leaders in CFA. Her approach is innovative and collaborative as she works alongside volunteers in the field. Kris began her career in the fire...


Black Saturday bushfires asset protection – Gavin Parker – EMP5

The scale and intensity of the Black Saturday bushfires that occurred on 7 February 2009 had not occurred before in Australia’s history. During this episode, Senior Station Officer Gavin Parker from the CFA shares his experience on this day. In particular, he discusses how he and his crew worked to protect a vital communications tower. Gavin and his crew faced many challenges during the Black Saturday bushfires. He has documented the event in a presentation and a selection of the slides are...


Hide and seek? It’s no game for dogs in a disaster

In a disaster, search and rescue dogs do the work that no one else can do. Julie Cowan is the founder of Search and Rescue Dogs Australia (SARDA). Julie has been instrumental in developing canine search and rescue capability in Australia. She was a member of the consultative committee which assisted in the development of the Australian Urban Search & Rescue Canine Capability Best Practice Guideline Version 1.1 (November 2009). To say that Julie is passionate about her dogs is an...


Training Tomorrow’s Leaders – Graham Kirk – EMP3

Training leaders. That's the business Operations Officer Graham Kirk is in. Why? Because he's passionate about the development of others. The team he leads is responsible for ensuring the people who graduate to the ranks of Leading Firefighter and Station Officer have the skills to combat the great variety emergencies they will face. The promotional program is designed, delivered and assessed by the people who do the job they are training others to do. Station Officers and Leading...


TriTech Lubricants Factory Fire – Adrian Devenish – EMP2

On 19 May 2011, Senior Station Officer Adrian Devenish of the CFA was the initial incident controller at the TriTech Lubricants fire located in Dandenong South, Victoria, Australia. Over 100 firefighters and 30 fire appliances were required to combat the blaze. Dandenong, Victoria, Australia Dandenong is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, approximately 30 km south-east from the Melbourne CBD. Over 160,000 people live in Dandenong. Greater Dandenong is the most culturally diverse are...


Deploying to international emergencies – Chris Hall – EMP1

In this interview Senior Station Officer Chris Hall from the Country Fire Authority in Victoria, Australia, shares his experiences while on an international deployment. He talks about the value of exchanging ideas from both interstate and international emergency management agencies. Deployment to California In October 2017, personnel from the Country Fire Authority and Victoria’s Forest Fire Management Victoria were deployed to assist in fighting the fires in Northern California. According...