News & Media

PAVS success in Jindivick

By: Ruth McGowan

Category: Community Safety

  4.07 PM 30 March, 2015

Location: District 9 News

Views: 2347

A review of their Property Advice Visits (PAVS) program run by the Drouin West Fire Brigade, has found it was an effective way to actively engage with residents who may be at high risk of danger from forest fire. PAVS was also a good way to evaluate community engagement efforts. Pleasingly, the brigade found that more than 80 per cent of residents had thought through a plan of action to take on high risk fire danger days.  

Rolled out this past summer in the Jindivick area, brigade members strategically targeted at-risk properties within 1-2km of the Bunyip State Forest as part of our Community Engagement Strategy. Having completed the training in October, trained brigade members used local knowledge to reach properties along the ten identified high-risk roads within 1-2km of the Bunyip State forest.

As part of the Community Engagement Strategy, we used the PAVS resources to connect with residents who had lived through the Black Saturday fire in Jindivick and to discuss how plans may have changed since that experience. It also provided a great opportunity to connect with newer residents and have frank discussions about the potential risks to lives and property based on what was learnt from Black Saturday. We were pleased to hear that most residents would elect to leave early and those that would stay and defend were well prepared.   

Thankfully, the majority of residents were home when brigade volunteers visited. In response, people were grateful to have a visit from their local CFA members and were interested to receive information on how to prepare and stay safe.

The PAVS information material was effective in generating discussion on what people might do on at risk fire danger days, especially for residents that have moved to the area post Black Saturday. Using the program materials to point out fire hazards and encourage people to have a plan can lead to lives being saved.

It was also a good opportunity to potentially recruit new members and volunteers to the brigade and talk about our community engagement activities. Properties where owners were absent still received information material (in a red bucket) and several rang and asked for a follow up on-site visit which our captain provided. It is intended that our brigade will roll out Stage 2 of the PAVS visits later in 2015  and target other properties in at-risk areas of Jindivick and Drouin West that are close to bushland. 

Summary of the property visits found the following:

  •          56 houses were visited
  •          33 home (59%)
  •          22 not home, but information dropped off  (37%)
  •          2 unable to access property (because of dogs etc) (4%)

Summary of proposed actions on fire danger days

Of those property visited, residents were asked about their intentions on severe, extreme or Code Red fire danger days. Pleasingly more than 80 per cent had a plan with only one person uncertain. 

  •          19 would leave early (58%)
  •          8 would stay and defend (24%)
  •          5 would wait and see (15%)
  •          1 was not sure (3%)

Drouin West brigade can recommend the PAVS program as an effective way to engage with your local community, literally on people's doorstep. The results also demonstrate that CFA community safety messages are getting through and assist us to evaluate our community engagement efforts. 

If any brigades are interested in having a PAVS Awareness Session, contact your local Brigade Administrate Support Officer (BASO) who will arrange for a visit by a qualified PAVS facilitator. 

Ruth McGowan Community Safety Coordinator – Drouin West Fire Brigade  

Last Updated: 02 April 2015