News & Media

Bushfire advice for the whole street

By: Sharon Mifsud

Category: Community Safety, Other

  2.57 PM 21 June, 2013

Location: District 4 News, District 5 News

Views: 2523

As an extension to the Home Bushfire Advice Service, Phil O’Keefe and James Haley from Barwon South West have come up with Street Bushfire Advice Service.

The idea of this is to do a street walk with the residents of a street and collectively identify risks and treatments around and within the street.  The residents who put a lot of time and effort into cleaning
up their property to keep your most valuable assets safe are asked  how safe is their property going to be if  the neighbours were not so actively doing so,? This encourages the whole neighbourhood to be involved.

It starts with a discussion involving the local brigade about which areas to target. The brigade can be involved by assisting with the invitations or by joining in the walk.  Invitations are delivered at least 4 days prior and coffee and a biscuit are offered as an incentive. The residents are encouraged to join the walk with Phil and together they identify with the surrounding risk. By having the residents there also aids in bringing in the local knowledge.

At the conclusion of the walk, a report is then produced to make recommendations according to the environments needs. The report is provided to all residents in the street including the ones who were not involved in the street walk. The recommendations can consist of advice to clean up properties, Home Bushfire Advice Service, Fire Ready Victoria meetings, Community Fire Guard Groups etc. In at least one case there has even been interest from residents in joining the local brigade.

Phil has been trialling this in District 4 and 5. So far he has done street assessments in Balmoral, Dunkeld, Port Fairy, Cape Bridgewater and Cashmore. The interest in this concept is positive from the perspective of the residents and also the local brigades.

Last Updated: 24 June 2013