CFA Bushfire Program: Workforce Capability Theme Outcome Evaluation

Rebecca O'Hara, Carlyn Pauline Muir, Lesley Margaret Day, Chebiwot Kipsaina

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned ReportResearch


This project was a retrospective evaluation of the Workforce Capability theme of the CFA Bushfire Preparedness Program which sought to enhance member capacity, capability and support through improvements to relevance and accessibility of training, systems, processes and health and wellbeing support. A varied range of projects were implemented with this overall goal in mind, including projects targeted at improving member engagement, welfare (psychosocial and physical), and training opportunities. The evaluation aimed to investigate whether the following key intermediate outcome measures were met for the Workforce Capability theme:
- Members have capacity and capability to deliver bushfire and grassfire safety messages
- Members have freedom of movement through traffic management points (TMPs) when required
- Members are competent and supported for their roles
- Members’ physical and mental health is supported
- Members’ contactability is improved
- Member levels are maintained to ensure brigades can operate efficiently and effectively
- Training ground facilities are equipped to meet CFA training needs
- Training opportunities and accessibility has improved

Broadly, this evaluation highlighted a number of opportunities for CFA in terms of improvements to programs, including a number of important aspects relating to firefighter health and welfare. Many of these were not included in the current projects in the Workforce Capability theme, thus there is an opportunity to extend the program in line with the evidence. Specific findings included:
- CFA could adopt a stronger focus on the physical health of members, and include, for example, a fit-for-duty test.
- CFA could include both pre and post incident programs for mental health, with an emphasis on strategies that promote adaptation in the face of incidents to minimise post incident impact; and recognise that psychosocial effects can go beyond the individual and extend to the family, community and organisation.
- CFA could further investigate the issues with using pagers among members to determine whether greater support or training is required or whether the issues with contactability relate to the product itself.
- CFA could further focus on access and opportunities for training so that the investment in training facilities may be fully realised.
- There is an opportunity to improve the training content by ensuring that equipment is up-to-date and facilitates ‘real-life’ scenarios and training.
- There is an opportunity to improve CFA’s capability by ensuring operational members have the required qualifications, particularly for specialist brigade skills.
- The capability and capacity of members to deliver bushfire safety messages may be enhanced through the provision of further staff development.
Original languageEnglish
Commissioning bodyCountry Fire Authority (CFA)
Number of pages105
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2014


  • Firefighter health
  • Workforce capability

Cite this

O'Hara, R., Muir, C. P., Day, L. M., & Kipsaina, C. (2014). CFA Bushfire Program: Workforce Capability Theme Outcome Evaluation. MUARC.