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Predictive Services Strategy
Victoria's Fire Behaviour Analysts (FBANs) need your feedback!
There is a project underway to develop a bushfire behaviour predictive services strategy for Victorian fire management agencies. Recently a Discussion Paper, supporting documents and an accompanying survey has been released for comments from end-user groups.
This Discussion Paper summarises key issues and themes from a review of the current Fire Behaviour Analyst (FBAN) service and initial feedback from key stakeholders. It presents options for change and includes a survey to collect valuable additional stakeholder feedback that will be used to inform the final strategic document.
Technical specialist roles provide important translations of in-depth science into simple concepts to help decision-makers in emergency management. Historically, technical specialist roles have largely provided ad-hoc support to emergencies and have somewhat developed a haphazard role within the Australiasian Inter-Service Incident Management System (AIIMS). The Fire Behaviour Analyst (FBAN) is a strong example of the growing potential benefit of including technical specialists not only in response but also across planning, prevention and preparedness activities in managing bushfire emergencies.
The FBAN program in Victoria has been the long-standing leader of technical fire intelligence in southeastern Australia. The program developed rapidly and produced a cadre of highly skilled analysts whose products and services have become integrated into everyday bushfire management activities, especially with regards to quantifying risk to communities and infrastructure. Multiple examples of the positive impact of fire behaviour prediction have been recorded (see the companion “Background Document”) and it has bolstered support from across all agencies and levels of bushfire control (see the companion “Initial Stakeholder Engagement Report”).
However, in recent seasons the inclusion and ease of uptake of FBANs has begun to falter related to an overall lack of leadership for and standardisation of products and services. The role of FBANs across the state, within regions and at the incident level remains somewhat unclear. Adoption and acceptance of FBAN products and services varies significantly. The current demand for FBANs exceeds supply and initial stakeholder feedback suggests that the current approach is not sustainable. In fact if things do not change the service itself is at risk of being discontinued.
In order to secure bushfire behaviour predictive services into the future, this project has been initiated to design a multi-agency strategy in which background information will be combined with stakeholder preference to produce a series of long term goals and interventions for the state. The strategy will focus on the future direction of the FBAN role, but should be adaptable to other technical specialist roles.
Victoria’s future predictive services and FBAN program can take many forms. In order to foster quick uptake and adoption of a framework, a series of spectrums of potential options for change are presented for stakeholder review. Feedback on this document will highlight common solutions and strategic interventions along with areas where stakeholders are in disagreement.
Stakeholder response to this discussion paper will be used to directly inform and guide the final Bushfire Behaviour Predictive Services Strategy which is to be completed by 30 September 2013. In the interim, a brief will be prepared for the Service Delivery Group to discuss implications to the program for the upcoming 2013-2014 fire season.