Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Chaplain Dennis Sudla and Bushfire Volunteers' Engagement Manager Alex Espey at our relationship building meeting in June 2020

Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) Chaplain Dennis Sudla and Bushfire Volunteers’ Engagement Manager Alex Espey discussing collaboration opportunities in June 2020

The Bushfire Volunteers team reached out to DFES Chaplain Dennis Sudla this week to build on our constructive relationship and learn more about how this important role can help support our invaluable members.

The service that a Chaplain provides to the people who fall underneath the Department of Fire and Emergency Services (DFES) scope has changed quite significantly from what it used to be.

Up until 2015,  DFES used the Salvation Army’s network of Christian Chaplains to support their people, but, as of 2019, after careful consideration of the feedback provided by the organization’s stakeholders, the first full-time employed Wellness Chaplain Dennis Sudla was hired. With a more comprehensive and holistic approach being adopted to make sure that the people are always put first.

“The Wellness Chaplain operates within the Wellness Branch and provides a specific role in the area of Pastoral Care and will be contributing to the core strategy of increasing personal resilience and holistic wellbeing of DFES volunteers and employees”

DFES Chaplain Dennis Sudla.

Pastoral Care support by the Wellness Chaplain can be offered to individuals or groups, with a variety of inputs on offer, these include; Healing, Sustaining, Guiding, Reconciling and Nurturing.

As well as, bereavement support, being the developing process on grief and loss is also on offer, which could include the secondary experience of grief and loss while attending a job which involves a loss of life. The Wellness Chaplain can also provide emotional/spiritual support and facilitate a Bushfire Brigades bereavement journey after the loss of either someone within the Bushfire Brigade or after a critical incident that Volunteers have attended.

Brent Findlay, a Bushfire Volunteer and one of the Chaplains from Albany said, “This is a great resource that has been created by the Wellness Branch at DFES to look after the social and emotional wellbeing of full-time employees and volunteers alike.”

If you’d like to email the Wellness department of DFES, direct your query to [email protected] or direct your query directly to Chaplain Dennis Sudla at [email protected].

Otherwise, you can call the Wellness Chaplain on 9393 9991 or 0436 523 421.