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Violet Town 'highly commended'
Violet Town Fire Brigade has been highly commended for a community safety and engagement project as part of the Resilient Australia Awards in Canberra on Monday.
The 15th national awards, by Emergency Management Australia, recognise and celebrate the partnerships between communities and fire brigades.
The commendation, in the not-for-profit category, was presented to the Violet Town Fire Brigade and Making Violet Town Safer Committee for their Red Bucket Program and Know Your Neighbours project.
The Red Bucket Program was the brainchild of 2nd Lieutenant John Dunn, who said the project was focused on engaging with residents and inspiring them to think about their own fire risk.
The 30-member strong brigade doorknocked residents in Violet Town, giving them a red bucket, a symbol of their firefighting tools.
The bucket contained fire safety information and preparation guides to help them prepare for house fires and bushfires.
Mr Dunn said the bucket emphasised to residents they needed to make their own fire prevention actions.
“The red bucket is their fire truck, because in the case of a grass or bushfire there will not be a fire truck at their house,” he said.
“They should see and use the bucket as a reminder for action on fire safety.”
The initiative was born around three years ago with the aim of engaging more dynamically with the community.
Mr Dunn said some residents had no interest or understanding of their fire risk.
“You can give people a million brochures, but because it doesn’t relate to them they don’t work,” he said.
“You can’t sit at your brigade and expect the community to come to you.”
Mr Dunn said doorknocking was an effective way of reaching the community that may not ever talk to CFA before, attend meetings, and may not have ever thought about their fire risk.
He said it was about arming residents with the right information.
“In the second phase of the program we sat with residents and filled out a simple fire plan, consisting of one page for bushfire and one page for house fire.”
The Know Your Neighbours initiative takes in an all-hazards approach, encouraging residents to create a safety plan for other risks including floods, or car crashes as a result of living off a major road or freeway.
“This is about getting people talking to those around them, your neighbours on either side of your house and across the road. It’s about encouraging people to talk to each other about these issues,” Mr Dunn said.
“These relationships have seen the creation of street parties where everyone gets together and talks about community safety and awareness.”