News & Media

CFA presents research at AFAC

By: Duncan Russell

Category: Community Safety

  1.40 PM 30 July, 2013

Location: CFA HQ News

Views: 2443

CFA, in conjunction with Melbourne and Deakin universities, is presenting a poster at this year's AFAC conference titled, "Are public funds being used wisely in programs supporting community bushfire preparedness?”

By Angela Cook

There’s a lot of talk in CFA at present about public value (the need for accountability, authorisation and value for money) and how to better determine what bushfire safety programs to deliver to the community.   

Since the 2009 bushfires, the Community Fireguard Program has been evaluated by several academic institutions and revised by the Community Resilience team. This latest research, led by the University of Melbourne in partnership with Deakin University and CFA, has focused on reviewing the ongoing relevance and cost-effectiveness of the program.

To share the findings of the research with other agencies and researchers, a poster will be presented at this year’s AFAC (Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council)Conference in Melbourne.

The Community Fireguard program aims to establish self-reliant neighbourhood groups in high bushfire risk areas, empowering residents to take responsibility for their own fire safety. The review showed that those people engaged by the Community Fireguard program had successful outcomes, in terms of increased psychological and physical preparedness, but acknowledged the limitations of reach (mainly the ability to engage those who are motivated to prepare for bushfire).

In addition, the review emphasised the close alignment of the program to current national and state emergency management and disaster risk reduction policies, particularly regarding models of shared responsibility and capacity building.  

In what could be a first in the evaluation of community capacity building programs for disaster resilience, a cost-benefit analysis was conducted by a leading health economist at Deakin University. This analysis highlighted the significant benefits of delivering the program to the community over a 10-year period, with savings from reduced property loss found to be $892,800 and from reduced fatality of $1.6m per Community Fireguard group.

The details of the research are summarised in the poster below, and a joint paper is being written by CFA, University of Melbourne and Deakin University. CFA highly values the contribution of these leading universities in helping CFA establish a sound evidence base for the delivery of our bushfire safety programs. 

To find out more about this research, email Angela Cook at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

More information about this year's AFAC conference is at

Last Updated: 31 July 2013