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We are all responsible
June, July and August will see CFA and MFB sharpen their focus on preventable fires in the home, with the annual home fire safety campaign kicking off on May 31.
In 2012 there were 3,800 residential fires in Victoria, causing an estimated $97 million damage – one figure that fire agencies believe can be reduced through better community awareness, particularly of risks in the kitchen where 42 per cent of fires occurred.
CFA Deputy Chief Officer Steve Warrington said that the involvement of brigade members at grass roots level was critical to the success of the campaign, themed ‘We are all responsible’.
“CFA and MFB will be running some advertising – and there’s some terrific work going on behind the scenes to get some celebrity chefs involved with our campaign – but that can only get us so far. What will really make a difference are the things you can do in your community,” he said.
“Every action, big or small, will contribute something to our combined effort and help to reduce preventable house fires and reduce fatality and injury.
“That could be as simple as placing a web button on your small business website, or putting up a poster at your local library. Or you might want to do something more involved and organise a session with a school or community group or organise a manned display at a local event.”
CFA members wanting more information can call or email their BASO or Community Education Coordinator and ask for a ‘home fire safety campaign brigade information kit'.
The Kit (and accompanying resources) can also be downloaded from the 'Very Handy Template Toolkit' via Brigades Online, under the marketing materials section.
Mr Warrington said that while house fires occur all year round, concentrating public awareness activities within a few months of the year was a proven way to maximise attention in the community.
“We know that the likelihood of a house fire occurring increases by 15-20 per cent in the cooler months so this is a good time to be talking to people about the risks.
“Our aim is for every Victorian to be exposed to our messages at some point this winter, whether that’s through an ad on the radio, a poster at their local library or even better from face to face contact with a brigade member.”
A key strategy behind the campaign is harnessing the current popularity of celebrity chefs and cooking shows to target people who do the cooking in their household, Mr Warrington said
An official launch event taking place next Friday 31 May at the MFB Kitchen (Eastern Hill Fire Station) will feature Tobie Puttock, well-known cookbook author, TV presenter and founder of Australia’s first Fifteen Foundation for helping disadvantaged youth become chefs.
The home fire safety campaign is a joint-agency campaign that is led by MFB.