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Meeting Minutes



Annual General Meeting

Convened by:

Captain-Scott Ferguson


Acting Manager HVFC Ken Hepplewhite, Group Captain Warren Welsh,

Members – Tim Spooner, Judy Hobson, Ray & Muriel Roberts, Kenn Mackett, Scott Ferguson, Chris Spooner, Greg Pierce, Craig Louden, Glen Cuthbert, David Mackison, Rod Coleman, Mark Pigram, Samantha Cook, Guillaume Forret, Jane Robinson, Pam and Geoff King, Ken and Margaret Ferguson, Andy Edwards, Alison Webster.  Visitors, Stephanie Forret, Chris Beech, Gus Gilkeson


Putty Rural Fire Brigade Station, 426 Putty Valley Road, Putty


15th May, 2021 at 3.00pm


Peter Lines, Joanne Ferguson, Helen Payne, Russell Day, Sue Casey, Kathy McKenzie.

Minutes by:

Margaret Ferguson-Secretary

President opened the meeting at 1507hrs and advised that the meeting was being recorded for minute taking purposes.


Minutes of previous Annual General Meeting held 1st June 2019 had been circulated to members prior to the meeting and read in brief at the meeting. The minutes were accepted as true and correct by Andy Edwards, seconded by Scott Ferguson,

Business arising from minutes – NIL


1/12/2020         Ken Hepplewhite remains as Acting Manager;

                        Glen Byres as Community Safety officer; Rob Carrero as Learning                              and Development officer

21/12/2020       Brigade ACTIV information

14/01/2021      Active fireground members to receive helmets, receipt to be validated

19/01/2021      Rob Carraro - Training booklet, Document available. 38 pages

08/02/2021       Notifiable Incidents

03/03/2021       Release of OP SS 1.2.20 – Backburning. 10 page Document available

11/03/2021       National Medals - Criteria and submission from sent

12/04/2012      Training Calendar

28/04/2021       Map of the new Putty road names

28/04/2021        Vehicle maintenance, notifying burns by:,au/notify

10/05/2021        Your health matters- With posters available

11/05/2021        Response driving

                          Various Commissioner’s messages – Agenda items

Correspondence accepted by Andy Edwards, 2nd Tim Spooner

Matters arising from correspondence


Road naming in Putty and Yengo.

To enable emergency services to identify where they have to go to within Putty and Yengo, Putty Brigade has been working closely with Singleton Council to have all the roads in our area named along with property identification numbers allotted. A map displaying this information has been provided and will be displayed in the Brigade station for reference to assist our crews.


Messages from Commissioner Rob Rogers

Workplace conduct. In everything you do in our Service, you must behave in a respectful and inclusive way. Every person has a fundamental right to a physically and mentally safe workplace, and our Service is no exception.  The commitment to mental health is also a top priority.


Review of grievances and disciplinary action. The NSW RFS is engaging law firm Clayton Utz, to undertake an independent review process relating to previous claims of serious conduct matters limited to the last three years.



Captains Report

I welcome everyone here to the meeting today.

I also welcome seven new members to the Putty Brigade.  Mark Pigram, Samantha Cook, Anthony Robinson, Ric Hobby, Trent Norris, Craig Louden and re-joining, Warren Lee.  When they have completed their initial on line training, they will be able to begin their Basic Firefighting course and attend a fire.

Our last AGM was held in June 2019 and since then we have been through some difficult times. In October 2019, the Gospers Mountain fire started and it all went downhill from then until things settled down at the end of January 2020.  During this time, our brigade crews spent countless hours on fireground in an attempt to control the outbreaks. Once again, I thank everyone who gave up their personal time during these months to save the Putty community, including the members of our sister brigade, Howes Valley who had fires everywhere in their own district.

Putty Brigade had a lot of help from other Hunter Valley brigades and brigades from out of area and without them the outcome would have been a lot worse.

Except from losing several sheds, old cars and caravans on unattended properties, I am proud to say that all brigade crews fought a good fight.  

We were all organised to have a function to say thank you to the fireries when Covid hit in early March and life for everyone was put on hold.

Today I say thank you again to our community members who made some amazing donations to support our crews for their hard work during the fires and I also thank. Craig Louden who set up a fund raiser and was able to supply a large number of necessary items to make life easier for our volunteers. From all the donations we have been able to install air-conditioning to our office and kitchen area and also install a large generator which powers all of the station. This turned out to be just the best thing during the fires as we were able to keep the station operating when Putty Valley was without power.

With grants received from Bush Fire Recovery via Singleton Council and from the State Government, we were able to have the concrete apron in front of the station put in.  Our Treasurers report will show the figures for all the donations and grants.

The training calendar for 2021 has been issued and there will be a Tree Felling Intermediate course held at Putty on 10-12 September with closing date 10th August. Application forms are available here today.

Captain’s report accepted, Andy Edwards, 2nd Kenn Mackett


Treasurer thanked Jodie Drayton for auditing our books

Opening balance at bank 1/04/2019 was $17707.38 Closing balance as at 31/03/2020 was $7718.67. Opening balance at bank 1/04/2020 was $7718.67. Closing balance as at 31/03/2021 was $6767.95.

Income for the year up to 31st March 2020 was $8875.00 being donations of $6615.00, Fund raising $1770.00 and membership $490.

Expenditure was $18,863.71 which included buying the air conditioning and generator.

Income for the year up to 31st March, 2021 was $16,870.00 being grants of $10,000 from NSWRFS Brigade Donations Fund and $6,250 from Singleton Council Bush Fire relief. Membership fees, $40.00

Expenditure was $18100.47. The concrete slab at the front of the station was $17578.00 with sundry maintenance expenses being the balance.

Members financial as at 31st March, 2021 was 41 

Report accepted by Scott Ferguson, 2nd Kenn Mackett

Auditor’ report:  Auditor Jodie Drayton tendered her apologies. Secretary Margaret Ferguson read the report.   Report accepted Kenn Mackett, 2nd Andy Edwards

The Auditor and Treasurer’s reports were taken to Fire Control by Ken Hepplewhite



Ken Hepplewhite explained the situation regarding letters sent to members asking if they wanted to continue their membership. Brigade members who attend fires are to be issued the new design NSW RFS BR9 Wildland Firefighting Helmets and a list of these members was sent to Fire Control. This prompted a question about Putty’s other members as to what their membership status was. Did they support our active members during fires, were they involved in community safety, were they social members or had they left Putty and had no further interest in the brigade? Some feedback from these members has prompted that the process be reviewed and addressed at a later date after further consultation.


New members are to complete the New Member Induction and BF Modules on FUEL prior to undertaking any further training.  Mark Pigram, Samantha Cook and Craig Louden will be attending the BF course in Bulga in June.



Field officer positions are now for a one-year period in accordance with the 2018 NSWRFS constitution adopted by the Putty Brigade.     

CAPTAIN:                               Scott Ferguson, Nominated by Kenn Mackett, 2nd Andy Edwards

SNR DEPUTY CAPTAIN:      Kenn Mackett, Nominated by Ken Ferguson, 2nd David Mackisson

DEPUTY CAPTAIN 1:            Ken Ferguson, Nominated by Kenn Mackett,  2nd Andy Edwards

DEPUTY CAPTAIN 2:            Rod Coleman, Nominated by Kenn Mackett, 2nd Scott Ferguson

DEPUTY CAPTAIN 3:            Andy Edwards, Nominated by Ken Ferguson, 2nd Kenn Mackett


EQUIPMENT OFFICER:         Rodney Coleman, Nominated by Kenn Mackett, 2nd Ken Ferguson

EQUIPMENT OFFICER:        Kenn Mackett, Nominated by Andy Edwards, 2nd Scott Ferguson

EQUIPMENT OFFICER:       Ken Ferguson, Nominated by Kenn Mackett, 2nd Rodney Coleman


PERMIT OFFICER:                 Ken Ferguson            Accepted by members present         

PERMIT OFFICER:                 Greg Pierce               that they remain the same as previously

PERMIT OFFICER:                 Tim Spooner             appointed

PERMIT OFFICER:                 Kenn Mackett

TRAINING OFFICERS:           Ken Ferguson and Rodney Coleman.

                                                  Nominated by Scott Ferguson and 2nd by Andy Edwards


              ADMINISTRATIVE COMMITTEE – for one year period

PRESIDENT:              Andy Edwards, Nominated by Kenn Mackett,  2nd Margaret Ferguson

SECRETARY:            Margaret Ferguson, Scott Ferguson 2nd Andy Edwards

TREASURER:            Sue Casey, Nominated by Andy Edwards, 2nd Tim Spooner                                   

AUDITOR :                 Jodie Drayton was nominated by Margaret Ferguson, 2nd Scott Ferguson




Response Driving.

Captain Scott Ferguson spoke of the recent accident involving a Cat 1 when it was responding to a call out.  He advised that when proceeding to a fire or a MVA, a vehicle is only to be driven at a speed which matches the driver’s ability and the road conditions at the time. It is better to arrive a few minutes late than not at all.  


Back Burning

As a result of the Royal Commission, Recommendation #47, a new operational Service Standard for back burning has been developed and released.  Within it is several types of back burning have been addressed. Ken Hepplewhite explained the difference between tactical and strategic burns. Tactical would take in around 300 metres, while strategic could be over 20 kilometres and be planned over two to three days.


Taken from #47 of the recommendation:

Tactical Backburning is used to protect specific assets or for other small-scale purposes. It is conducted at a small scale, often within limits of the visibility of Officer in Charge. It is conducted at the discretion of field commanders and/or Brigade and Group officers.


Strategic Backburning is used as one of the primary means to halt the main fire or to secure the spread of parts of a fire. It is proactive, generally conducted over a larger area than Tactical Backburning, and may involve implementing burns of hundreds of metres up to kilometres in length and depth. Strategic Backburning is planned and informed by a range of personnel including fireground commanders, members with local knowledge, and Fire Behaviour Analysts, and is usually part of the plan in the IAP. It is carefully co-ordinated, suitably resourced and must only be conducted with approval from the Incident Controller.


If a landowner wished to carry out a Hazard Reductions, a certificate can be obtained with the application form available at Fire Control.


Tim Spooner asked why the dam on his property was not utilised during the 2019/2020 fires.

It had been I previous fires and was a good source of water with very open access for helicopters with buckets. If it is to be used in the future, he will keep the access maintained.


Group Captain Warren Welsh responded to the reports by our firefighters that out of area crews did not know and were not informed about the specifics of fighting fires in the Putty and Yengo area.

Incident Management Teams and Group Captains not associated with our district misinterpreted our situation during the fires and it was difficult to get local advice circulated. The Gospers Mountain fire was directed by Hawkesbury FC, the Kerry Ridge fire by Mudgee FC and the Wollembi area by Lower Hunter FC leaving the little triangle of Putty and Yengo alone in the middle.  



CLOSE MEETING at 1620 hrs

Table 1: Action items - Nil


Details of Motions Including Mover and Seconder

Result of Vote

Task Assigned to?

Due Date






Table 2: Documents referred to in the meeting

Document title




Captains Report




Treasurers Report




Auditors Report




Table 3: Next meeting


Start time

Finish time


TBA  2022



Putty Fire Brigade Station