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*Story by Tanya Lyons*
The annual Sungold Field Days located in Allansford, just outside of Warrnambool, is renowned for two things – plenty of farming innovations and plenty of heat!
With this in mind, Jenna McMeel, Community Engagement Project Officer and Tanya Lyons, BASO along with all the dedicated members of the Hopkins Curdies Group located in District 5, set about creating a fantastic CFA site at the Field Days in the hope of also being a popular attraction to the crowds.
After careful consideration, the messages promoted to the general public were kept simple and relevant. For the hundreds of children who passed through the CFA site during the three day event, the focus was on smoke alarm familiarisation and the process of crawling low, dialling 000 and reaching a safe meeting point.
This was depicted through the setup of a children’s bedroom, designed as a familiar setting for children to act out the process of crawling low in a fire emergency once hearing the smoke alarm. The children roll off the bed, crawl through a ‘tunnel’ (which encouraged them to keep down low), unlock a door, use a mobile phone to dial triple zero and wait patiently by the letterbox. This activity generated a lot of discussions with families who hadn’t talked to their children about a safe place.
Children appreciated the opportunity to experience the process in a controlled environment….once, twice or in a couple of kid’s cases, many, many times.
In order to cater for the numerous school groups who attend the event, twice daily shows featuring Captain Koala were developed and were a hit! These shows specifically targeted primary school students and involved traditional games with a fire safety twist. For example, musical chairs was revamped with a smoke alarm being set off as the cue to take a seat.
This created some light hearted competition while also reiterating the life-saving importance of the humble smoke alarm.
While the children were being entertained, adults were given the opportunity to learn some vital bushfire knowledge. Given the time of year and the very warm weather at the event, interest in CFA, from the public was strong.
By focusing on safety messages that were practical and realistic, and easily identifiable for the public; topics, like what clothes to wear if caught in a bushfire and what to take with you if you leave early, in particular, generated significant interest and conversation.
Thanks to the amazing effort of the volunteers within the Hopkins Curdies Group in helping setup and man the phenomenal site, Sungold was a success!
After three days, approximately 450 children, 500 adults and numerous bottles of water…it’s time for us to ponder, what innovation can we do for 2014?