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Neighbourhood Safer Places
Firstly, I'd like to acknowledge the enormous effort put in place by our people to assess Neighbourhood Safer Places (NSPs), with some great outcomes. Since 24 December 2009, a total of 40 NSPs were designated, with 243 sites assessed by CFA. Today, 135 NSPs have been designated with 694 sites assessed by CFA. In addition, 40 sites have been reassessed.
We are establishing an online system where CFA, MAV and Municipalities can share information and receive real time status updates. The CFA website is being updated with a new facility where you can search for an NSP via township, municipality or post code. A Google Map image will show the location of the NSP.
Information Unit Structure Development
In accordance with the recommendations of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission, the Information Unit has been escalated to the level of ‘Information Section.' The Media, Community and Public Information units will sit within this new structure. The documentation, SOPs and training have been developed in accordance with this new structure.
Information Officer Tools
Training for current Information Officers is being rolled out at ICC's across Victoria. Twenty-two refresher sessions and 3 new information courses will be held at times that accommodate both staff and volunteers. An updated version of Emergency Alert has been released by the OESC and incorporated into all Information Officer Training. The One Source One Message (OSOM) tool has been updated to improve usability and ensure more timely messages are delivered to the public. Critical Incident Training will also be provided for new Information Officers to develop the expertise needed in an operational role.
Information Unit All Hazards Approach
I would like to comment the CFA/DSE Information Unit, who recently provided assistance to the SES during the floods - this support was greatly appreciated. To further develop the all hazards approach to emergencies, the SES participated in a CFA/DSE Information Unit ‘Train the Trainer Session' held last week. Further work to ensure that training is relevant for a multi-agency incident is being developed by the Community Warnings and Advice project and Learning and Development.
Advice to Property Owners
Interviews are currently underway to appoint six new Fire Safety Officers (Wildfire) to meet surge capacity to deal with demand in high bushfire risk locations. Following a week of training it is anticipated the new appointees will start by the beginning of December.
The nine existing Fire Safety Officers (Wildfire) are currently promoting the program to the community to arrange site visits. Over the next few months they will attend the ‘Development and Building in bushfire prone areas' course which is run by University of Technology Sydney. This course will enhance their skills and knowledge on defendable space, vegetation identification and management and other aspects associated with providing advice to the community.