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CFA initiatives growing fire awareness
CFA’s work helping Victorian communities to plan and prepare for fire has been recognised at this year’s Fire Awareness Awards, with two important projects winning Fire Service Awards.
The awards ceremony on Thursday 1 December saw the CFA-led Mallacoota Community Safety and Resilience Support Group win the Fire Service Award for Local-led Prevention and Preparedness.
Secretary of the Mallacoota Fire Brigade Elaine Kent said the series of #weworkasone initiatives began with a series of joint emergency management planning and community meetings. The brigade then set up regular information booths at the local markets, as well as demonstrations to educate local residents about their fire risk.
“We saw a need to do more fire safety demos and training for our local residents, especially the older ones living on their own,” Elaine said.
“The initiatives grew organically, and are driven by what our community needs. So far we’ve seen around 3,000 people attend our market booth, which is really great.”
Building on this momentum, the brigade began exploring ways to target more remote community members with regular and relevant updates.
“We partnered with local radio station 3MGB to set up an ‘emergency services hour’ every Wednesday,” Elaine explained.
“This segment has attracted some really high profile participants, including Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley.
“It worked really well for us over winter, when our residents were indoors with the radio on more often… We’d like to target travellers and tourists over the summer months.”
The Mallacoota brigade also leads interagency Managing Bushfire Risk meetings, which attract around 14 local community groups, and recently supported Double Creek landowners Noel and Cate Bruce to host an ‘extravaganza’ event for the local emergency services.
“The extravaganza was an amazing achievement for the whole community,” Elaine said.
“It demonstrated just how well all the agencies work together at the local level.”
The Fire Safety Pledge, a CFA-led initiative which seeks to increase public awareness around fire risks, won the 2016 Fire Service Award for a Project of Statewide Significance.
Project coordinators Jamie Devenish and Mel Causer, who worked together to deliver 'The Pledge', said they were honoured to receive the award given the high calibre of other nominations in their category.
“For something that started as a bit of a ‘what if’ conversation with our Volunteer Reference Group, The Pledge really grew into an amazing community safety initiative,” Mel said.
The online campaign asks the community to pledge to undertake a set of tasks that will reduce their risk and better prepare them for fire. Community members are also asked to support their local CFA brigades, who then compete against each other to see which brigade can generate the most pledges across three different categories.
Last year CFA generated 14,315 pledges, with nearly 13,000 of those who took part also signing up to receive regular fire safety information from CFA via the MyCFA service.
“Our Volunteer Reference Group played a huge role in the development and delivery of The Pledge last year, so we’d like to thank them for all their hard work,” said Mel.
“We’d also like to thank all the CFA brigades who took part in the initiative and continue to encourage their local communities to take actions that will improve their safety.”
The Pledge is back in 2016, and this year members of the public who take part go in the draw to win one of four Samsung Galaxy tablets donated by Telstra.
The competition closes at 11.59pm tomorrow (Thursday 22 December), so make sure you back your local brigade and take the pledge today!
View the full list of 2016 Fire Awareness Award winners for 2016 here.