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Stomp, rattle and roll - a new way to engage
Amid the tall timbers and tourists, a stomp choir is in the making at Cann River as children work with local community music facilitators Eva Grunden and Nick Fischer to compose a music piece about fire.
This activity is part of a new CFA project which is trialling some unique ways to engage the community in relation to bushfire preparedness.
The Community Engagement Approaches Project, funded by the National Disaster Resilience Grant Scheme (NDRGS) is trialling and evaluating a number of different community engagement approaches in partnership with RMIT University.
The music program in Cann River is a type of variegated approach, which means it is not outwardly trying to teach the community anything specific about bushfire safety. Instead, it aims to bring people together and assumes that the skills learnt, networks broadened and relationships formed will indirectly and effectively assist those within the community to manage their risk of bushfire.
This approach will be trialled in a few locations across the state to see if and how they work to engage the community. Project Manager Holly Schauble says: “Using art and music is a great way to bring community together. It is a way to engage residents that may have previously been unengaged with traditional methods or approaches. It may give CFA another option in those hard-to-reach communities”.
The great thing about a stomp choir is that the children (and adults) can use objects and everyday items to make music. A plastic bottle filled with sand or a tin can and a wooden spoon are turned into instruments. Therefore, it is relatively cheap and easy to deliver. It is also another way for children and (adults) to think about fire – what will it sound like, what instruments can be made to help replicate the noises of fire, the trucks and the sirens.
The music program at Cann River will wrap up with a community event on Australia Day, where the children will perform their fiery composition in front of the larger community. The Cann River brigade will also host some activities so the local community can get involved and see what CFA does.
Kerry Laurie, the Brigade Sustainability Project Team Leader for South East Region says: “it is a great way to bring CFA and the community together and to form closer connections. When a community interacts well with CFA, and vice versa they are more likely to ask questions and seek advice about fire safety.”
The local Brigade Sustainability Project team, Noel McWilliams and Kerry Laurie, have been pivotal in helping to get this project trial underway. The enthusiasm and support from these district staff has been fantastic.
This trial, along with others planned for Mirboo North and Seville, will be evaluated with the help of RMIT University and a report of the findings will be used by CFA to guide future community engagement approaches.