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CFA Today

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Manner of establishment and the relevant Minister

During the past 60 years, CFA has evolved from informal beginnings to become one of the world's largest volunteer-based emergency service organisations, providing a diverse range of risk reduction and fire suppression services to minimise the impact of fires and other emergencies on the community. CFA is wholly committed to the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery phases of emergency situations.

CFA is a statutory authority which reports to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services.

CFA is funded through contributions by insurance companies (77.5 per cent) and by the Victorian State Government (22.5 per cent).

Patron

Professor David de Kretser, AC
Governor of Victoria

Objectives, functions, powers and duties

Under the Country Fire Authority Act 1958 ('the CFA Act'), CFA is vested with the duty of "taking superintending and enforcing all necessary steps for the prevention and suppression of fires and for the protection of life and property in case of fire...so far as relates to the country area of Victoria". This includes wildfires and structure fires, as well as incidents involving hazardous materials, road rescue, and rescue in areas of diverse risk, including high-risk industries such as petrochemical and gas.

Nature and range of services provided

As a statutory authority, CFA is a volunteer-based, community-focused emergency service organisation, providing a diverse range of services to contribute to the safety and well-being of Victorians.

CFA's operations rely on the skills of an integrated force of volunteer and career members who are dispersed throughout Victoria, united through a commitment to creating safer communities and protecting life and property and the environment. The volunteers have forged very strong strategic relationships within local communities and provide not only fire suppression expertise but also assistance with fire prevention and mitigation, through educational programs and close working partnerships with local municipalities and industries. Volunteers in many areas contribute to the social cohesion of their local communities.

CFA's services are based on the internationally adopted 'comprehensive approach' to emergency services (prevention, preparedness, response and recovery) used to classify the key functions in managing emergency events, as described by the Productivity Commission's annual Report on Government Services.

Figure 1. CFA service locations - Areas, regions and principal offices

CFA service locations - Areas, regions and principal offices

Click on the CFA service locations - Areas, regions and principal offices map to view a larger vesrion.

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CFA provides State-wide fire and related emergency coordination including:

CFA Dimensions

Victoria's natural environment is among the most bushfire prone in the world and CFA is responsible for an area that is home to more than half the State's population.

A large part of outer metropolitan Melbourne, as well as provincial towns and small rural communities, comes under the protective umbrella of CFA. This protection encompasses some of Victoria's critical infrastructure, including the power industry of the Latrobe Valley, gas production facilities at Longford in Gippsland, oil refinery facilities in Geelong, as well as major tourism areas, alpine resorts, extensive plantations, marine environs and growing mining industries.

As our communities extend further into rural interface areas, more Victorians will rely upon the services that CFA provides:

1. Handmer, J., Ganewatta, G., Comparison of approaches for valuing fire and emergency services volunteers, RMIT Centre for Risk and Community Safety, 1 March 2008

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CFA at a Glance - 30 June 2008

Brigades
Brigades, including: 1,211
- Road rescue brigades 24
- Forestry industry brigades 24
- Coast Guard brigades 12
- Regional headquarters brigades 11
People
Volunteers 58,362
Career firefighters 498
Support and administration staff 900
Total CFA people 59,760
Services in 2007-08
Total number of incidents 38,892
Total number of brigade turnouts 71,518
Total community education sessions delivered 3,977
Total community education participants 69,461
Visits to CFA web site over summer 1,300,898
Buildings
Fire stations - urban 203
Fire stations - rural 952
Headquarters and offices 24
Training grounds 7
Mechanical workshops 13
Communications workshop and store 2
Protective Equipment workshop 1
Residences 22
Vehicles
Tankers 1,268
Pumpers 244
Pumper tankers 29
Aerial appliances 7
All-terrain appliances 3
Quick attack appliances 19
Mobile communications vehicles 7
Hazardous materials units 10
Protective Equipment support vehicles 5
Rescue appliances 26
Specialist (mechanical support) vehicles 29
Cars or transport vehicles 424
Other vehicles (including trailers) 403
Brigade-owned vehicles 1,091
Communications
Base radios 1,189
Mobile radios (vehicle-mounted) 6,953
Portable radios (hand-held) 2,943
Pagers - on the State Emergency Alerting System (EAS) network 29,000
Satellite terminals 58
Pre-conference interceptors 10,776

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