Meetings held with CFA, MFB, EMV and others

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Home Forums – VMBSG CFA MFB Reference Group Meetings held with CFA, MFB, EMV and others

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 40 total)
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  • #2554
    Peter Phillips
    Participant

    I have previously advised of a meeting that I attended at Emergency Management Victoria 6/2/2017 (old web forum). I have held a further follow-up meeting 1/3/2017, with Adam Dalrymple, MFB and Claire Cooper, EMV. In essence the first meeting was to detail the role of the MBS when attending “emergencies” and the call out process. The steps then taken by a MBS following the incident, (possible issue of Emergency Orders). They generally were not interested single dwelling incidents but with larger events ie. bushfire, multi storey buildings, flood etc.

    In the meeting today and from previous documentation that I have recently received, it has become apparent that not all MBS undertake this role on a consistent basis and it varies from Council to Council. That is –

    • some are on call
    • others contract out this function (not sure about the issue of an Emergency Order,
    • others (I have heard) do not respond at all.

    I am requesting that all MBS’s provide a short précis of their scenarios that pertains to their council and what actually happens when an event arises.

    The sooner that this information is gathered the better as it will form the basis of further discussions. The Group has just about every MBS in the State as members so the response should huge.

    Starting typing for me please

    Thanking you all in advance

    Peter Phillips
    Manager Building Services
    Municipal Building Surveyor

    #2556
    Barry Nicholl
    Participant

    My role is on call 24/7 with reciprocal call outs for East Gippsland Shire. We are notified by either Our emergency after hours duty Officers the Local CFA or Vicpol. When I first came back here we weren’t notified by the CFA however I met with all our regional sub groups and informed them of my position and role in an emergency. I am also on Council’s Emergency Management Planning Committee.

    For a single building fire I attend and if necessary issue Emergency Orders and for Big events I work with the MEC and seek assistance if required.

    #2562
    John Prendergast
    Keymaster

    At Greater Dandenong we have a 24/7 call out service. To achieve this my Deputy gets call out allowance to be available all year (packaged). We then have a second person who is also available 24/7 on a rotating basis. We always achieves our service standard of responding to call outs within 4 hours.

    To provide the service my budget is $27,000 plus and allowance per year of $8,000 for possible overtime. I do not normally use all of the OT budget for the call out.

    We would average 4 call outs after hours per month from,Police, SES & CFA

    #2575
    Leigh Collings
    Participant

    East Gippsland Shire is CFA and the CFA RDO (rostered District duty officer) will usually call me direct. If the call is sent from brigade to VicFire the call taker will then ring the Shire Gen No which sends it to after-hours. That person will take the message and will give it to me in the morning. The catch is that when the call is made from VicFire the request is closed with the assumption that the A/H service will/has made contact with the MBS. The next option is for VicFire to have MBS A/H contact details shown on the layers of information available for each municipality. The problem is keeping the information up to date. As the MBS sole responder (& sole responder previously at Kingston CC and there calls were similar to Dandenong CC) there are times when I contact the Incident Controller by mobile to verify the need to attend immediately. There may not be a need to attend until the fire is out or Police investigation is complete. There have been many times when Police Chemist etc. is 8-12hrs away. EMV have the MBS as a resource of the MRC (municipal resources/response co-ordinator). If I am on leave then the MRC & my manager have the alternative arrangements. (Wellington MBS) The Eastern side of Victoria works perfectly.

    #2577
    Mehran Khademollah
    Participant

    At Casey we have a 24/7 call out arrangement. To achieve this deputy gets time in lieu and I am on back up. Whilst every effort is made to attend emergency call outs there are times that both MBS and deputy may not be able to attend until the following business day.

    My own thoughts on the subject matter is that CFA/MFB are funded through the collection of fire levy (rates) and are responsible for attendance to ensure the emergency situation is brought under control prior to vacating the site. It is noted that MBS cannot cause the works to be carried out unless an emergency order is not complied within the required time frames. It is my understanding that there is no immunity for MBS if something were to go wrong should he/she decide to commission the emergency works to be carry out (good luck with cost recovery).

    In practice it doesn’t make sense for a building surveyor to attend an after hours call out(example 3am due to a fire) when all they can do is to provide direction (in the event of a major fire usually involves issue of an emergency order requiring assessment by a structural engineer and rectification works within a time frame recommended by the structural engineer an prohibit occupation for 48 hours). A better solution may be for CFA/MFB to engage a structural engineer to be on stand by in order to assess the structural integrity of a compromised building and to carry out any immediate emergency work with assistance of SES (if required). The MBS can attend the next business day in order to provide written direction to the owner to carry out permanent rectification works. Additionally the current arrangements (emergency call outs) pose safety risk to MBS/delegate (exposure to asbestos, structural collapse in the event of a fire etc…).

    #2580
    John Bordignon
    Participant

    At Glen Eira, we (that is me at the moment) provide 24/7 emergency response. The MFB have my mobile number and ring direct. I am also the Duty MERO and on call for that responsibility 1 week in 4. And also the MFPO. I probably get called out once or twice a month. I have educated the MFB to not wake me up for small silly matters which could easily be dealt with the next morning.

    At this stage I am it. looking at getting my deputy and senior inspector to possibly be on call and pay them the on call allowance under the award. I have found in the past that it is the Police that often call the MERO and asks for a building surveyor to attend. This could be flooding or a car going through a shop or dwelling etc.

    Whether fire or flood the first thing is the power is usually cut off. If it is an apartment complex then there is a concern that fire safety systems are now not operational. does it make the building dangerous? depends on the circumstances. The other agencies would seek the advice and decision of the MBS on whether to prevent occupation and arrange through Council resources alternative accommodation for occupants- via the MERO.

    #2582
    Alan Cocks
    Participant

    We at Wyndham City Council provide a 24/7 emergency callout service .CFA ,MFB, SES and VicPol ring our after hours number and the request for the attendance of a building surveyor is relayed to our Building Maintenance on call staff who then contact the on call building surveyor at a dedicated number.
    There are 3 building surveyors,including myself, who are rostered on a 2 week schedule.We are paid availability allowance and minimum 3 hours overtime for each attendance.
    The callouts are for fire damaged,vehicle impacted and storm damaged buildings.
    We liaise with owners and insurance companies to organise make safe works including shuttering, temporary fencing , propping and in some cases demolition of dangerous parts of buildings.
    We have organised make safe works where owners are not insured and recover the applicable costs.
    Emergency orders have been issued for these make safe works when applicable.
    Alan Cocks
    Wyndham City Council

    #2584
    Vincent O’Brien
    Participant

    Shepparton has no formal process but we do provide a 24/7 response and attend every incident that we are called to. I have a proposal in at present that will formally provide for 3 staff to be on a rotating availability roster; they will receive an allowance for being available and be paid for their time or receive time in lieu.

    We ordr the property to be made safe, including shuttering and perimeter security fencing, including shuttering and perimeter security fencing, on occasions we have paid for the make safe and recover costs later.

    #2586
    Brett Turner
    Participant

    Hi All. At Bayside we split the area in half with the Deputy looking after ‘out of hours call outs’ for one half, and the MBS looking after the other half.
    Having come from Casey we have a similar system and I agree totally with Mehran’s comments. Well said!. Whilst I understand that historically the MBS was the go to person for the CFA/MFB in terms of structural and regulatory advice, and or course the issuing of enforcement to ensure safety works are undertaken I have always seen this as a “non-mandatory” service. (except for the responsibility in terms of enforcement). It has also exposed the MBS and Council to risk in terms of advice and directions obtained from those authorities, and quite frankly, I have, as I’m sure many of you have, been in the situation where we’ve been called out in the middle of the night to simply stand and watch the fire; not being allowed on site until it is extinguished and/or investigations completed. In addition, I am uncomfortable in requesting Council to undertake any safety measures as that is also a cost and risk to Council. Ultimately it is the owners responsibility to ensure; after the fact, that the their insurance assessors make the call and ensure the necessary works are undertaken. More complex when they don’t have insurance, granted.(the enforcement can aid and back up this process). I think this topic is well over due for discussion and I’d be interested in what comes out of this. P.S. I don’t get paid to attend call outs. Not much incentive there. Cheers, Brett

    #2588
    Hans Tracksdorf
    Participant

    Emergency Call out response is a growing area of concern for me as the MBS in the regional city of Bendigo ( Population 120000 ), mainly because the expectation has changed over the years. We provide a 24/7 response emergency call out, primarily relayed thru an interstate call centre in NSW, asking for MBS to attend whatever emergency, to assess – Structural damage; If the building can be pulled down?; If the house can be lived in? In the ‘old days’, some of these type of ‘on the spot decisions’ were made by the responding agencies other than council but now everyone is looking to handball that decision making process onto someone else, to avoid responsibility. My understanding of the act and regulations ,( in general terms) is that MBS is to ensure public safety in the event of building damage due to fire , flood, car damage ( we’ve had 5 of these in the last two months), etc, Quite often this can be achieved by evacuation and fencing off, however the issues of assessing structural damage and the others that we often get asked, are getting a lot broader than what I feel the act and regulations spell out. We generally receive 2-3 call outs per month (circa 30 per year) but so far for the first 2 months of this year, we’ve received 8. These can be at all hours of the day and night. With the night time ones ( im the only one who will respond, as the only other staff available are registered as inspectors ( all seniors ) and understandably are reluctant to get involved afterhours.) We’ll general drill down to find out how critical it is that someone attend immediately, as from experience we’ve found that a large percentage of the house fire call outs, can be viewed the following day. The issue becomes problematic when the MBS is away ( generally hiking ),as then im not sure who they rely on. Councils has a well organised afterhours Engineering -Mero backup to assist but its the assessment process, which urgently needs to be reviewed, as I understand that its a bit hit and miss around Victoria and I know that some fairly large councils have relied on private building surveyors to attend call out on their behalf’s!
    This review discussion is a good starting off point as a guide document would be helpful , spelling out what we don’t need to do!
    Cheers Hans Tracksdorf
    MBS . City of Greater Bendigo
    PS . For me this role is a love job. ie . No extra pay.

    #2591
    Ryan Elliot
    Participant

    At Mitchell we receive a call from the CFA either directly or through our after hours/MERO. We provide a 24/7 call out service which Is usually me or my inspector. Once the property is handed over to us from the CFA or Police we get the owners to arrange make-safe works (usually through their insurer). If they don’t have any insurance we arrange a temp fence and work through how they are going to make it safe. Both these options are usually done through an Emergency Order. Sometimes the we don’t get the call from the CFA and we find out the next day and go out of our own accord.
    With flood or fire events we would send a team out post event when safe to assess the site and issue the relevant paperwork i.e. Emergency Order or information on services Council can or are suppling at the time. The team usually consists of Building Surveyor, Environmental Health and Local Laws.

    Regards

    Ryan Elliot
    Mitchell Shire

    #2595
    Andre Brewer
    Participant

    At Cardinia Shire Council, we have limited resourcing, MBS and DMBS have cars however live an hour away, and Council cannot currently afford a car for our inspector even though I’ve tried.
    We are notified of all events and are generally able to resolve the matter over the phone to enable inspection the next working day, we generally obtain the owner details, insurers details and email the emergency order to the owner/insurer. Where an insurer is not available or the house is not insured, we use JohnsLyng to erect fencing and provide any required makesafe.
    Flooding, we review the safety of buildings as soon as possible to ensure safety of occupiers of the land/building, however have not needed to issue an EO yet, Bushfires I am yet to experience however imagine we would be working very close with our MERO.
    We experience a lot of trees falling through buildings and also roofs of buildings being blown off, in most cases the SES/CFA have addressed these issues prior to our arrival and we will issue an EO depending on the circumstances.

    As the MBS I would like to have a roster for oncall to enable better response, however this is impossible with the number of staff and vehicles.

    #2597
    Steven Baxas
    Participant

    At the City of Port Phillip, we have a roster for afterhours call outs. We have 4 officers on the roster, with the MBS being the fourth. We rotate the first three officers as the first to be called out, on a monthly basis, with the MBS remaining in the fourth position if all else fails. Each of the three officers are paid the call out and availability allowance under the relevant Award, and are also paid at the appropriate overtime rate, if they are called out. Some officers take time off in lieu of payment, when called out. We receive 2 – 3 after hours callouts per month.

    #2599
    Paul Brush
    Participant

    At Melton City Council provide a 24/7 emergency callout service .CFA ,MFB, SES and VicPol who ring our contracted paging service number and the request for the attendance of a building surveyor is relayed to our pagers which nominates location incident etc and a number to call such as the attending officer. We respond to our contractor with a reference number to acknowledge response so that it doesn’t escalate to next level in the council.
    There is only building surveyor me and a limited inspector, we share the duties on a ad hoc basis due to commitments etc. My biggest problem is that I live in Heathmont which is an hours drive at best, dependent on the event and time we can usually attend. The call outs are for fire damaged dwellings,vehicle impacts and storm damaged buildings.
    We liaise with owners and insurance companies to organise make safe works including shuttering, temporary fencing , propping and in some cases demolition of dangerous parts of buildings.
    Based on the event and time we will wait until the morning to attend the incident, this is a case by case judgement. Just turning up to a fire is usually a waste of time just to watch the fire as our role is subject the CFA completing their tasks and if suspicious VicPol, this could be crime scene.
    We have organised make safe works where owners are not insured and recover the applicable costs.
    Emergency orders have been issued for these make safe works when applicable. Maybe I’m under playing our role but sometimes what we direct to be done is really stating the “bleeding obvious”, half the dwelling has caved in and your don’t have to be Rocket Scientist to see that you enter at your own risk.

    Paul Brush
    Melton

    #2601
    Paul Brush
    Participant

    At Melton City Council provide a 24/7 emergency callout service who ring our contracted paging service number and the request for the attendance of a building surveyor is relayed to our pagers which nominates location incident etc and a number to call such as the attending officer. We respond to our contractor with a reference number to acknowledge response so that it doesn’t escalate to next level in the council.
    There is only building surveyor me and a limited inspector, we share the duties on a ad hoc basis due to commitments etc. My biggest problem is that I live in Heathmont which is an hours drive at best, dependent on the event and time we can usually attend. The call outs are for fire damaged dwellings,vehicle impacts and storm damaged buildings.
    We liaise with owners and insurance companies to organise make safe works including shuttering, temporary fencing , propping and in some cases demolition of dangerous parts of buildings.
    Based on the event and time we will wait until the morning to attend the incident, this is a case by case judgement. Just turning up to a fire is usually a waste of time just to watch the fire as our role is subject the CFA completing their tasks and if suspicious VicPol, this could be crime scene.
    We have organised make safe works where owners are not insured and recover the applicable costs.
    Emergency orders have been issued for these make safe works when applicable. Maybe I’m under playing our role but sometimes what we direct to be done is really stating the “bleeding obvious”, half the dwelling has caved in and your don’t have to be Rocket Scientist to see that you enter at your own risk.

    Paul Brush
    Melton

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