South Australian Country Fire Service Promotions Unit

Raising awareness of the roles, training and activities of CFS Volunteers state-wide


The CFS Promotions Unit

A short history of the Unit
Officially launched - Sunday August 28th 1994

The CFS Promotions Unit was formed in 1994 to promote the role of the CFS and the volunteers that make the CFS the great organisation that it is. It was found that prior to the unit, most people were unaware that the CFS did more than just bush fires.

Charter of the Promotions Unit
  • Promote the volunteer nature, role and size of the CFS
  • Support the members of the CFS
  • Educate the public on
    • The operational activities of CFS members
      (Road Crash Rescue / Rural Fires / Structure Fires / Hazardous Materials Spills/ Natural Disasters)
    • The support roles of CFS HQ and volunteers
      (EG: Bushfire Prevention & Public Safety Education)
  • Encourage new recruits to join the service
  • Demonstrate the commitment of CFS volunteers to serving their community
  • Gain public support for the CFS volunteers and organisation

The CFS Promotions Unit Pantech In January 1994, the design for a new semi-trailer sized mobile promotions unit was started by Nick, a volunteer with Burnside CFS, as a part of his University Studies, based on an old pantechnicon trailer.

This unit was officially opened on Sunday August 28th 1994 by the then Minister for Emergency Services, The Hon Wayne Matthew MP, the then Chief Officer, Mr Allan Ferris, AFSM and then President of the SA Volunteer Fire Brigades Association, Mr Brian Wilson. Approximately 60 people attended the opening including the entire CFS Board, VFBA Executive, CFS volunteers and staff, as well of families and friends of the volunteers who built the unit.

1994 Royal Adelaide Show display The first official event the Unit attended was at the 1994 Royal Adelaide Show. During the following years, the journey of the Unit progressed to be in great demand for local and intrastate events and shows. With over 80 seperate events attended in one year, it was greatly utilised by brigades to promote themselves to the community.

With any large display such as this, it was a centre piece in any event and was always accompanied by the local brigade appliances and members. As a result of this exposure, and the pressure to maintain an up to date photographic and information database, the Unit expanded to include a photographic section.

The CFS Promotions Unit held a number of large events to capture a snapshot of the CFS members and equipment, with a photo shoot at the Victoria Park Racecourse in 1997, and a follow up at the Torrens Parade Ground in 1999. These images were used statewide in posters and calenders by the CFS to promote the CFS image.

Photo Shoot at Victoria Park Racecourse

In 2002, the photographic section started to gain momentum with a new digital camera provided via a grant, and images from Field Days and Events began a feature in the Volunteer magazine, other CFS publications, as well as non CFS publications.

In 2004, the CFS Promotions Unit Pantech was withdrawn from service after 10 years of travelling many kilometers across the state, and was replaced by a 'Pumper' type appliance with lots of locker space, kindly provided by CFS Headquarters. This appliance was used to transport display and photographic equipment to events, and serving as a prop when required in pictures.

CFS Members in action The Unit now has a number of photographers and equipment spread around the state providing a never before insight into the roles and activities of CFS members, in all aspects of their duty. These are displayed on the Unit's website that you are now viewing, and in many CFS publications, including the Volunteer magazine, Royal Adelaide Show posters, brochures and training materials.

In 2005, the Unit was acknowledged in its photographic prowess with many photos gaining Commended and Highly Commended status in a National Competition conducted by the Attorney General's Department and Emergency Management Australia.

In 2007 the Unit continued its work to increase the exposure of the CFS volunteers to the public, both in electronic and other media forms. This has led to the CFS volunteer member appearing in interstate and worldwide publications. Another initiative started in December 2007 was the History section of the website. It holds historical information sourced from brigades around the state, and was brought together in one collection online for easy access.

In September 2008, the Pumper appliance was returned to CFS after travelling the State, and was replaced by a smaller, more economical Toyota Landcruiser. This has enabled the Unit members to travel around the State to attend Field Days, incidents and other CFS brigade events.

The Unit continues to encourage members to submit photographs from activities and incidents, to the website, to increase individual brigade's exposure to their own, and the wider community.

The Unit now has, arguably, the largest collection of images of the of Country Fire Service, anywhere in the State. Photographs from the collection are available for use in publications, Brigade websites etc, and in a hard copy format, for display purposes. For further information, Contact us

2020 saw the change of the Promotions Car 1 to a Mitsubishi Pajero, badged up in a similar way to a CFS Group car.

In 2021, the Unit carries on with the work of promoting the volunteer members, and has widened the pool of emergency services in which volunteers can join and provide service in, including paid services with information on employment criteria.

Photos taken by CFS Promotions Unit