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A message from Michael Wootten
I would like to share with you an update of some of our recent achievements under the Bushfires Program:
Volunteer Identification Program
Operational volunteers will receive a ‘vehicle identification sticker’ to place on car windscreens to improve access past Traffic Management Points. The stickers will assist volunteers in being easily identifiable and support them in doing their job. This project is in response to recommendation 19 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission Report and will be implemented for this fire season. Stickers are also being developed for private equipment that meets CFA guidelines and will be used during bushfires to support fire fighting efforts.
Online Fire Ready Meetings
The first online FireReady meeting for this fire season was held on 8 November with great results. The live one-hour blog provided information to 111 people on how to prepare for the fire season, including identifying risk, preparing property, and planning to leave before fire threatens. CFA bushfire experts responded to live questions as they came in. The meeting has been replayed a further 74 times since it was held.
The meeting program has been expanded with five more online sessions to be held before the end of the year. The online meetings are another way to reach community members and work in with the 2000 face to face meetings being held across Victoria this fire season. Other online meetings are scheduled for 15, 24 November and 6, 22 December. Further details are available at www.cfaconnect.net.au
Township Protection Planning
Township Protection Planning currently forms part of CFA’s community and operational preparedness. The aim of this program is to determine the level of fire fighting and other resources required by individual communities and emergency services during a bushfire emergency and better prepare communities for bushfire.
All Township Protection Plans (TPPs) produced last fire season are in the process of being reviewed and updated in a new user friendly format for 2010-11 fire season. Work is currently on track to deliver the public component of Township Protection Planning, known as the ‘Community Preparedness Guide’ to the 52 Victorian communities identified as being most-at-risk this fire season.
The Community Preparedness Guides are planned to be mailed out with FireReady information to residents in the 52 most at risk areas shortly. New and other existing TPPs are also under development in areas outside the 52 high risk areas across the state.
Incident Management Training
A number of recommendations were identified by the VBRC requiring improved performance of emergency and incident control centres and incident management training ahead of the next fire season. Information function training for new personnel is underway for this fire season and eight exercises for Level 3 Incident Management Teams will be delivered by December.
Regional Commanders and District Operational Managers are working with members and district planning committees to identify our current incident management capacity and areas for improvement. Significant progress has been made with an in-principle agreement with DSE on Level 3 Incident Controller development, assessment and selection process incorporating role standards and CFA’s role development pathways.
OSOM for Smartphones
Since November 2009, CFA has been delivering incident information and associated alerts and warnings, generated by OSOM, to users of iPhones.
From 6.00pm tonight, this same function will be available to users of other smartphones who have internet access, such as Blackberry, Nokia and HTC. This will allow CFA to provide information to 99.9% of smartphone users, previously restricted to 40.3% of the market. The delivery of this service means CFA can provide more information to more Victorians in a timely manner. Smartphone users can visit www.cfa.vic.gov.au/mobile to access this free service.