Lucinda Nolan had been in the role of chief executive officer of the Country Fire Authority (CFA) for just four days when we spoke with her. And there will be no easing into the top job.

Victoria is one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world, and as Lucinda steps into her new office at the emergency services organisation, the state has already entered this year’s fire season. But after holding the second-highest role in Victoria Police since 2012, Lucinda is looking forward to leading one of the largest volunteer-based emergency services organisations in the world.

“I will be hitting the ground running, and I want to provide as much value as possible, especially to the front line,” Lucinda says. “The organisation is focused on making sure Victorians are prepared and protected this summer.”

With a significant history, CFA is an organisation that’s respected and well regarded not just within the Victorian community but across Australia. With a workforce of mostly volunteers, it is tasked with preparing, informing, and protecting the community from a range of incidents.

There are more than 1,200 brigades operating across five regions, each with its own needs, challenges, and opportunities. The landscapes and the dangers each community faces differ greatly.

But its mission to protect lives and property is what brings its more than 57,000 members together—and Lucinda is now responsible for the strategic leadership and direction of CFA, ensuring it remains a world leader in fire services.

“My first priority is to get out and speak to as many members as possible so I fully understand the issues, challenges, and risks faced by CFA and its people,” Lucinda says. “I will be on the ground, meeting with people and listening. The aim of my first few months is to build relationships, consult with people, and make sure I understand the people I am working with and their positions.

“Listening will allow me to better understand what the priorities are for the CEO, and what are the most significant issues and barriers impacting our front line to make sure they have everything they need to keep themselves and the community safe.”