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Bob Barry, Barwon SW Regional Director on Community engagement
About 18 months ago the team at Corio brigade established a business plan that set out guidelines to engage the community within its fire district.
Being such a diverse community, a lot of factors had to be considered and the crew down there has done a fantastic job to achieve something we should all be proud of.
Their vision was to facilitate networks and promote greater understanding and communication among the residents of Corio.
They developed a plan that identified objectives and allocated
team leaders to drive them.
One of those objectives is to pursue partnerships within Corio's multicultural population that can benefit safety outcomes for the community.
These strong relationships have allowed Corio to provide fire safety messaging to people from refugee backgrounds. It's a credit to the team that Corio firefighters have been welcomed by communities with vastly different backgrounds and histories.
A great example of this was when CFA sponsored the purchase of a pole that was part of a religious ceremony for the Karin community. The trust and respect CFA has gained from the community can't be underestimated.
Another objective is to provide CFA personnel with an understanding of poverty within the community. CFA's understanding of hazards and the protection of life and property is top class, but we need a better understanding of the greatest risk within Corio - the people within the fire district.
The final objective of the plan is to engage the youth of Corio and surrounding areas, refugees, disadvantaged, alcohol or drugaffected young people and other at risk groups.
The Corio brigade has developed partnerships with a number of local schools with large refugee populations.
Corio has provided fire safety messages through visual and interactive programs designed to overcome language and cultural differences.
Corio has also helped foster a relationship between Lorne and North Geelong Secondary Colleges to share ideas and knowledge about the different cultures in the areas.
Corio will continue to work with the community in the future and has participated in a training and education program called ‘Rock and Water' designed for troubled and challenged youth, to help them better understand themselves and provide techniques to deal with anger management, overcome bullying and promote confidence.
I have no doubt the brigade will be able to share this knowledge across CFA to extend the great work being done in diverse communities. For more information, please contact Senior Station Officer Geoff Brown at Corio brigade: 5277 0414.