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Smoke makes stand self-sustaining
The bushfire preparation display at Bairnsdale Bunnings became even more popular as a result of the Aberfeldy - Donnellys bushfires.
“We had smoke from the Heyfield fires at the time and it worked out to be the perfect timing for a community information stand - the stand proved really successful,” said Community Liaison Bushfire Engagement presenter Irene Haywood.
“I ended up being called into the Heyfield Incident Control Centre but the stand ended up being self-sustaining - it was something that people were drawn to. I had to top up the literature a number of times. Bunnings sold a lot of pipe fittings, footwear and a fair few pumps.”
The stand featured a manikin dressed in turnout gear, gloves, footwear and goggles as well as a mini water tank demonstrating the necessary fittings. It also showcased publications such as On The Land, Can I Can’t I, Horses and Bushfires, Pets and Bushfires and the FireReady Kit.
“It only took two hours to set up and in that time I had a lot of people asking to take information home and wanting to know more about the Home Bushfire Advice Service. It was a great way of reaching them without being confronting, they’re asking what they want to know rather than you telling them what you think they need to know.”
“It was also a good way to reach a broad range of people, from the local townships as well as rural communities. A lot of people come in from Omeo, Swifts Creek and Benambra to do shopping here.”
“If we were to do it again it would be good to have a day or whole weekend where the whole brigade came in. We could make it a kid-friendly thing and engage with parents at a level of preparedness.”
“This is definitely an initiative for brigades to consider, going into partnership with a hardware store that sells gear like pumps and safety clothing. It’s also a great promotional opportunity for brigades as people can ask them direct questions one on one.”
Community Education Coordinator Nicole Cooper-Warneke said they would consider turning the stand into an ongoing display, promoting smoke alarms and home fire safety throughout winter.
“It was a great partnership and we ended up keeping it there for a month. Bunnings were great with helping to maintain the stand and replenishing items,” said Nicole.
“If brigades would like to do something similar with their local hardware supplier they should get in touch with their Brigade Administrative Support Coordinator to help get it set up.”