News & Media

Community conference receives fire awareness award

  • Living with Bushfire Conference recieves a Fire Awareness Award
  • Community Safety information on the go
  • Burns table demonstration
  • Living with Bushfire Community Conference at Churchill Federation Uni
  • Fantastic tips to be fire prepared

The Living with Bushfire Community Conference has been recognised for its outstanding achievements in fire service partnerships in this year’s Fire Awareness Awards.

The concept of a community conference began with a couple of long-time firefighting workmates from different agencies sitting down with an idea, an open mind and a commitment to think outside of the square.

From those early intentions a highly successful and progressive community conference has developed with the living with bushfire community conference being described as highly innovative and extremely valuable by some of Australia’s leading bushfire research academics and Victoria’s Fire and Emergency agency leaders.

The concept of a community conference began as a conversation between a small group of Fire & Emergency Management industry members, Peter West (DELWP), Andy Gillham (Parks Victoria) and, John Crane (CFA) were part of the initial conversation.

The intention was to develop an interactive community based conference where fire agencies, land managers, bushfire researchers and community members could come together, exchange ideas, opinions and identify actions that introduced and increased a higher level of awareness and genuine understanding of not only preventing and suppressing bushfire, but living with bushfire. 

The organising committee quickly expanded to include Lance King (Latrobe City Council) and Wendy Wright (Federation University). Friendships and professional relationships were forged and what started as an idea quickly developed into a fully functional state wide event.

“This really was a back of the napkin conversation to start with,” explained CFA Vegetation Management Officer John Crane. “One key to the success of the organising committee was that while we have all had many years’ experience in bushfire management, we were not wedded to how things have always been done by our respective agencies. In fact quite the opposite. The 5 of us were committed to creating something new!” John continued.

The organisers started with nothing but an idea and a positive approach and quickly developed the 3 day conference; including raising more than $60,000 to ensure the conference could be delivered successfully.

The initial conference held at the Gippsland campus of Federation University in 2014 attracted more than 250 attendees per day and hosted some of Australia’s leading bushfire research academics, Fire and environment researchers and community members telling of their personal bushfire survival experiences.

Since then a second conference has been held in Gippsland, a third conference in the Yarra Rangers and a fourth Living with Bushfire Community Conference is being planned for delivery in Ballarat.

“It’s fantastic to see this concept being accepted and adapted to other communities across the state. It was always our hope that we could develop something that could be accessed and implemented by any community who saw the need. To that end the community conference concepts is adaptable to all hazards and all communities” Mr Crane concluded.

The Living with Bushfire Community Conference was awarded the 2016 Fire Awareness Award’s “Fire Service Award for Partnership”. Recognition goes to the outstanding achievements of the collaborative working partnership between DELWP, CFA, Parks Victoria, Latrobe City Council and Federation University.

The Fire Awareness Awards video can be viewed by clicking here

A series of you tube clips were developed as part of the conference. These are available on the following links:

Conference overview

How to organise a conference:

Schools participation videos:

Federation University 

Yarram Secondary College

Dixons Creek Primary School

Tyers Primary School 

Anglesea Primary CFA

Last Updated: 23 March 2017