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Buses prove themselves in Gippsland
CFA’s Mobile Education Units are proving to be quite the chameleons after being deployed to the Gippsland Aberfeldy-Donnelly fire as operational units from January 18-27.
The twin buses had previously been finding their groove in the Summer Road Show program, which saw them take fire safety to tourist ‘hot spots’ state-wide during the school holidays.
On Friday January 18, the buses snaked their way to Gippsland and were immediately put to work as portable Community Meeting units for affected areas. Using the buses, community engagement can be held virtually anywhere, with the support of an onboard computer, iPads, TV/DVD player and tables and chairs. It now means that multiple community meetings can be held throughout a day, without the need to book a venue.
Their 10-day deployment saw them engage with over 6,500 community members during 33 community information meetings and drop-in sessions.
Attending up to 4 locations a day, the buses reached affected areas such as Licola, Heyfield, Glenmaggie, Seaton, Maffra, Toongabbie, Cowwarr and Erica.
Driver/Presenter Craig Dunshea says “Having both MEUs in Gippsland was fantastic. They were well received by the public and gave members of the community reassurance of CFA’s presence, as well as another avenue to source up-to-date information.”
Fiona Maken, another Driver/Presenter agreed: “Having the presenters and the buses meant we could target both ends of the knowledge spectrum – those who just needed updating, and those who required a more succinct safety and survival information. We had nothing but positive feedback.”
Facebook user, Daniel stated “It’s awesome that we’re able to put some community engagement to good use while fires are still burning, and make a difference in real-time”.
As first term commences, the buses have returned to Melbourne to dust themselves off before returning to their original education program delivered to schools across the state.