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).
Professor David de Kretser, AC
Governor of Victoria
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.
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
Click on the CFA service locations - Areas, regions and principal offices map to view a larger vesrion.
CFA provides State-wide fire and related emergency coordination including:
- community awareness, education and safety programs
- wildfire suppression
- structural fire suppression
- transport-related fire suppression
- road rescue
- technical rescue, such as high angle, trench and mine operations
- hazardous materials transportation and storage incidents
- forestry industry brigades
- industrial accident response
- other emergency activities including flood assistance
- technical services including building code-related inspections and post incident investigations
- fire safety input planning for major community risks
- fire prevention
- land use planning advice at municipal level.
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:
- CFA serves a population of approximately 2.6 million people and protects more than one million dwellings.
- CFA volunteers contribute an estimated $840 million annually to the Victorian economy1.
- With around 60,000 people, CFA manages a workforce of a size comparable to Australia's largest organisations.
- CFA is one of the largest providers of tertiary-level training in rural Australia.
- CFA is recognised for delivering one of Australia's largest and most successful community awareness education and safety programs.
- CFA operates one of Australia's largest transport fleets, with almost 2,300 trucks.
- CFA operates one of the largest public safety communications networks in Australia.
- CFA's diverse area of responsibility includes some of the State's most significant commercial centres, industries, critical infrastructure, recreational and tourist attractions.
- CFA services Victoria's growth corridors, which are among the fastest developing regions in Australia.
- CFA operates one of the State's major emergency coordination centres.
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
|- Road rescue brigades||24|
|- Forestry industry brigades||24|
|- Coast Guard brigades||12|
|- Regional headquarters brigades||11|
|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|
|Fire stations - urban||203|
|Fire stations - rural||952|
|Headquarters and offices||24|
|Communications workshop and store||2|
|Protective Equipment workshop||1|
|Quick attack appliances||19|
|Mobile communications vehicles||7|
|Hazardous materials units||10|
|Protective Equipment support vehicles||5|
|Specialist (mechanical support) vehicles||29|
|Cars or transport vehicles||424|
|Other vehicles (including trailers)||403|
|Mobile radios (vehicle-mounted)||6,953|
|Portable radios (hand-held)||2,943|
|Pagers - on the State Emergency Alerting System (EAS) network||29,000|