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White Ribbon Evacuation Drill
On Thursday 1st December 2016, Yarra Ranges Council and CFA (District 13) conducted a fire evacuation drill with a twist during at team.
During a team meeting with Yarra Ranges Council staff, a regular evacuation drill was conducted with a local CFA brigade requested to attend and support the drill; however the responding crew was all-female.
The all-female CFA crew was the critical component, as it was the foundation to a conversation to discuss:
- gender diversity in the workplace,
- gender messages we foster in our homes, and
- domestic violence.
These are each important conversations to have with friends, family and work colleagues during the current White Ribbon ‘16 Days of Activism’ Campaign.
The White Ribbon Campaign aims to initiate action and challenge behaviours to end violence against women and girls around the world. CFA and Yarra Ranges Council are both organisations keen to ‘stand up, speak out and act’ to end violence against women.
Cliff Overton (Yarra Ranges Council), thought of the idea for the ‘evacuation with a twist’ following a recent meeting with Tammy Garrett (CFA) in which they discussed how to empower young girls with the knowledge that they can work in any workplace or perform any role they want to take on in their futures. Whilst talking, Cliff had the results of a recent Yarra Ranges Council employee survey in the back of his mind, which indicated that close to 50% of employees believed that there are roles that men are more suited to than women.
With this idea in mind, Cliff used the opportunity of the Operations Centre team meeting to hold a conversation with over 100 council employees, on the principles associated with the White Ribbon Campaign. Cliff with the support of CFA District 13 members [Tammy Garrett (MCS and Sue Harley (BASO)], arranged for an all-female crew [Fiona Burns (Captain, Hillcrest FB), Renee Bisscheroux (Warrandyte FB) and Silvana Linton (Montrose FB)] to complete an evacuation fire drill, mock rescue and site debrief with the warden.
Following the drill, a discussion was held on the evacuation and what was observed. This led into a conversation on the recent council survey results and how there should be no gender discrimination in work roles, no matter what strengths (physical or mental) are required or how “dangerous” they may be.
It is hoped that following this event, CFA and Yarra Ranges Council have increased awareness that gender has no impact on the work people can do and violence against women needs to end.
For further information on the White Ribbon Campaign, please visit: https://www.whiteribbon.org.au/