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Shepparton Fire Brigade hosted a meeting last week with leaders of the Iraqi community – and hopes that this gathering will be the first of many with ethnic groups from around the area.Story by Peter Dedman.
Last Tuesday’s ‘meet and greet’ session, jointly organised by Chris and Hume Community Education Coordinator Paul Verbeek, was a good chance for the station personnel to speak with the leaders about breaking down some of the cultural barriers they see day to day.
With the Fire Danger Period approaching much of the discussion was timely.
One thing to come out of the meeting was the fact that the Iraqi Community don’t read the mainstream local papers and therefore know a lot about Fire Danger Period or Total Fire Bans.
We’ve also talked to the Ethnic Council about the role they can play across the board in raising awareness of the Fire Danger Period and what they can and can’t do.
Interestingly, Chris Hazleman pointed out that printed brochures will not always offer a solution when it comes to getting information out to people.
For most Congolese and Sudanese people it is not that important to have these brochures printed in their native language, as most of them are refugees who have not learnt to read and will generally learn to read English in Australia.
We are in the process of organising several more meetings with other ethnic leaders and groups and the Iraqi Community has been invited to participate in some basic house fire safety sessions at Shepparton Fire Station, along with a look around and meet and greet to break down barriers - and a chance for everyone to squirt the hose!