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All-hazards, all year round
Eastern Metropolitan region staff and volunteers have been busily undertaking preparedness and readiness activities for the upcoming bushfire season.
However, we're also continuing to emphasise to the community that CFA is an all-hazards and all-year emergency organisation. This is especially true in the more urbanised parts of the region, where structural fires, hazardous materials and road rescue incidents are the norm.
The priority for community programs leading into this bushfire season is to ensure local requirements are being met and supported. The region has approached our brigades with a clean sheet of paper and a host of supporting programs and tools to ensure the best fit can be achieved based on brigade capacity, availability of support, and what suits the local community. Where brigades are involved in major community events, the region will also be offering support and assistance as needed.
The number of brigades requesting to be a part of CFA Sunday has grown significantly since last year and, at the time of writing, 28 brigades have indicated their desire to officially take part in this important event.
Following on from the CFA culture survey earlier this year, the region is planning to run a desired culture workshop, which will be planned and facilitated by a cadre of staff and volunteers.
Region staff and volunteers have also been involved in three initiatives from the Fire Services Commissioner's Office. The Dandenong Ranges Landscape Bushfire Strategy - Pilot Project covers a large footprint involving the whole of the Dandenong Ranges and eastwards beyond Gembrook and well into Southern Metropolitan region. A number of regional and joint regional meetings and collaborative activities have occurred to ensure a unified CFA approach to the desired outcomes of this pilot project.
The Community Fire Refuge Pilot has identified three primary school locations to develop and trial the new refuge standards in conjunction with the local community. The locations are Millgrove and East Warburton in the Upper Yarra Valley and Ferny Creek in the Dandenong Ranges. There are ongoing community meetings to develop models of refuge readiness and activation should the need occur during a major bushfire.
The Sirens Pilot Project from a regional perspective mostly involves the existing CFA sirens in the Dandenong Ranges being set up so that they can be used for community alerting purposes. A significant brigade and community awareness and education program is being established as the proposed operating date for this project is mid December.
Update written by Acting Regional Director Graeme Armstrong