News & Media

SMEACS approach to engage at Whittlesea Show

By: Jamie Devenish

Category: Community Safety

  8.46 AM 11 December, 2015

Location: District 14 News, General

Views: 2206

Over 30,000 community members turned out to attend the annual Whittlesea Show held on 6 and 7 November. Local brigades, supported by the Whittlesea - Diamond Valley Community Engagement Workgroup, Nillumbik Group and CFA’s Mobile Education Unit took the opportunity to engage with the community and raise awareness leading into the summer.

By Michael Chapman and Carolyn Bailey

Michael Chapman, Deputy Group Officer for the Whittlesea Diamond Valley Group, used the briefing process SMEACS (Situation, Mission, Execution, Administration, Command and Safety) to brief members on the focus of the community engagement effort. “Most of our members join the CFA to help make their communities safer,” Michael said “and these days, that does not always entail being on the end of a hose.”

Local brigade members were encouraged to focus on delivering select key messages to community members around fire risks. The messages emphasised the importance of being prepared, making a plan, leaving early, monitoring warnings and updates, and understanding the risk of urban fringe grassfires.  Michael also coordinated the development of tactics that would attract community members to the CFA marquee, and ensure efficient rostering, command and safety for the members.

The CFA marquee had over 3,000 members of the public walk through the display during the show. The Arthurs Creek Light Tanker did a great job attracting families to the marquee, with parents chatting to members while the children enjoyed playing on the truck.

Michael believes the SMEACS briefing process ensured there was a focussed and consistent effective delivery of key messages, and also provided the local members with an opportunity to look at what may be done differently for future events. “It’s a good feeling when the volunteers can get involved in the planning and organising as well as the running of these events" Michael said. "Choosing what they want to showcase that best suits their communities. This is how it was before 2009 so let’s embrace the return of the control back to where it belongs with local brigades. Most of our members join the CFA to help make their communities safer. These days, that does NOT always entail being on the end of a hose.” 

• Two day opportunity to share key fire safety messages
• Event expecting 30,000 - 40,000 people in total
• Weather - cool on Saturday, hot and humid on Sunday
• Location - Whittlesea Showgrounds

• Saturday: Whittlesea Brigade, Whittlesea Diamond Valley Community Engagement workgroup, Mobile Education Unit
• Sunday: Whittlesea Diamond Valley Community Engagement workgroup, HQ Brigade East, Diamond Creek FB & Nillumbik Group, Mobile Education Unit

• Increase public awareness of select fire safety messages

• Through select key messages:
• Make a plan
• Know your capabilities and leave early
• Difference in message for urban fringe grassfires
• 3 levels of warnings and advice
• Calling triple zero (000)

• Arthurs Creek Light Tanker to attract children
• Engage parents while children look over truck
• Use CFA badge maker to encourage families into Marquee
• Be positive and show how much we enjoy delivering our message

• Two shifts each day
• 3,300 people visited display
• 520 people engaged by CFA members

• Word of mouth
• Non-combative style

• Monitor weather
• Wear appropriate attire

• Do we do it next year? Yes, incorporating lessons learned.


Last Updated: 11 December 2015