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Craigieburn Iraqi BBQ and Q & A
Craigieburn volunteers and career staff, with the support of Spectrum Migrant Resource Centre and the Volunteer Support Program, hosted approximately 40 parents and children from the local Iraqi community for a Q&A session and BBQ on Friday night.
Craigieburn identified the benefits to engage with the local Iraqi community (which makes up approximately 10-12% of the residents with Roxburgh Park included). With the help of Spectrum, who used their networks to advertise the event, the visitors were welcomed, taken on a tour of the station, shown how to use the trucks and the hoses, all in an interactive and social setting. Over local and ethnic food, deliciously prepared by Dianne and Lisa English from the brigade, lots of discussion was generated about the CFA and fire safety.
"We all had a great time getting to know the local Iraqi community on Friday night. Our aim for the night was simply to engage with them and start a relationship. We hope to now use the links we have established to inject our fire safety messages into the community and continue to break down assumptions and misconceptions" said SSO Peter Spicer.
Craigieburn brigade have attended many incidents involving the Iraqi community where there was assumptions on both sides, with the Iraqi community not understanding the role and functions of the CFA on one hand, and the brigade not knowing the background and customs of Iraqi community on the other. As an example, on Friday night when the brigade asked why some people called their extended family instead of the emergency services following a serious incident, one man responded that in Iraq it takes hours, if at all, for the fire brigade to attend fires or accidents, so they needed to look after themselves.
Another attendee asked how her smoke alarm automatically sent messages to the CFA with her address and the type of fire. The brigade explained that smoke alarms were simply an alarm device, and it required someone to call the emergency services. The night was therefore very informative for all involved, and the start of future cooperation between CFA and Spectrum, and the diverse community in which the CFA serves.