A generous gift from ANZ and ANZ employees will help CFA fund and implement a new Corporate Peer Program to support the mental health and wellbeing of corporate employees.
CFA plays a unique and valuable role within Victoria’s emergency sector. We work proudly with Victorian communities to deliver on our vision of fire safety and preparedness.
While our volunteer firefighters are front and centre, there is an entire engine room of professional, technical, mechanical and administrative staff working tirelessly behind the scenes.
Their contribution is vital, and their wellbeing is of paramount importance for CFA to continue to carry out the important work they do for the people of Victoria in what can be a highly stressful environment.
Peer support programs are coordinated programs where employees volunteer their time to provide mental health and wellbeing support to their colleagues. The peer support model encourages individuals to talk with trained peer supporters who are empathetic and supportive members of the work group.
CFA’s existing Peer Support Program began in the 1980s following the Ash Wednesday fires to provide a high standard of psychological first-aid to our operational volunteers.
During the last fire season, it became evident that CFA needs to evolve this program to include a new stream to ensure our corporate employees have appropriate and sufficient Peer Support they can access when required.
During the fire season, staff operating in the incident control centres in fire-affected areas are put under enormous pressure.
Their work in supporting front line firefighters, coordinating incidents, evacuations, logistics and communications in a high-risk situation exposes them to vicarious trauma, high pressure and stress.
Over the next three years, the new Corporate Peer Program will provide specialised training to 60 CFA employees who volunteer to participate as peers.
The program will provide tailored mental health and wellbeing support to corporate employees working in incident control centres across Victoria.
The trained peers are a contact point for individuals in need and offer a brief, practical intervention – engaging and supporting them, assessing their needs, and referring them to relevant support services where appropriate.
The relationship is not intended to be an ongoing or therapeutic one. Peer support programs have become an important ‘prevention/early intervention’ pillar in strategic wellbeing programs.
Thank you to ANZ and ANZ employees for supporting CFA and its people in its mission to protect lives and property.