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Murchison open day in the park
This year Murchison Fire Brigade made the most of a sunny Sunday to host its Open Day away from the usual fire station location, setting up a marquee and barbecue in the park on 20 September.
Murchison member Sharon Reilly said the Open Day was an opportunity to reach out to locals who weren’t aware of the potential threat from fire.
“There are a lot of people we talk to who live in the bush but don’t believe they are at risk,” she said, adding that in the past locals had been reluctant to come into the fire station.
“People feel uncomfortable about entering a workplace. The park is a neutral territory that is more warm and inviting.”
The whole brigade got involved with the Open Day, even junior brigade members, who were invited to create posters on different topics such as Fire Danger Ratings, trigger points to leave early, how to prepare your property and knowing your fire district
“For three hours we chatted to our community about their concerns on staying safe this summer,” said Sharon.
“We chatted about what was needed to stay and defend if a fire was near their property. We discussed leaving early and what were their triggers to leave.”
Sharon said a recent doorknock had opened the brigade’s eyes to some of the misconceptions held by local residents, especially new residents who recently moved up from the city.
“We talked to people who were thinking they could have big bonfires in their backyard all through summer,” she said.
Sharon attended the recent state fire awareness volunteer forum at Creswick and was also inspired by ideas other brigades are using to engage their communities.
“As a talking point, we put a red bucket out the front on a table with the words ‘What if this is your only fire truck?’. It gets people thinking because in a fire we can’t get a truck to every door,” she said.
Sharon said that although the attendance had been a bit lower than what they had hoped, some of the conversations had been potentially life-saving. She said the event – with all the planning involved including last minute council permits – had been a great learning experience.
“All in all, the brigade spoke to about 14 people. It’s not a lot given the population sign says 800 but, unfortunately, the open day clashed with school holidays and some other local events.
“But it is already a big improvement so given that, YES, it was a huge success!”