CFA’s John Gilbert receives AFAC honour

Member News image John Gilbert was awarded the Laurie Lavelle Award for his work in bushfire research.


John Gilbert, Program Manager – Research and Evaluation at CFA, has been awarded the Laurie Lavelle Award at the 2021 AFAC Conference.


The award recognises significant contributions to enhancing knowledge, skills, operations, performance or public profile in the emergency services sector.

 John’s research work in the bushfire space saw him nominated for the award, specifically his research around Bushfire Self Evacuation Archetypes.

John has been collaborating with internal and external researchers to better understand how people prepare for and respond to bushfires. This research has identified a variety of influencing factors including risk perception, stakeholder perceptions, the perceived effectiveness of preparedness actions, self-reliance, experience and intended response.

Working with Dr Ken Strahan, John has validated their findings into a preparedness context, enabling them to identify and develop approaches based on the archetypes research findings to support community engagement and education.

“I’ve been working with a number of researchers over a number of years to embed the bushfire archetypes research into our community safety approaches,” said John.

“The archetypes really represent typical behaviours of people before and during bushfires, and through the research we have come to a realisation of the importance of reflecting the needs and values that people have in high bushfire risk areas in the approaches we use to get the best results.

“We’ve used a whole range of different projects to start to embed that work within CFA and the broader sector.”

CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan says the research conducted by John and his team is vital to protecting our communities.

“John’s work in bushfire archetypes will assist the CFA and other emergency services to plan for emergencies, but also amend our education and community engagement programs to get a better outcome for our communities,” said Jason.

“It’s humbling to know that within the CFA we have some members that are striving to get better community outcomes in the field of research and innovation.”

More information on John’s research can be found here.


Submitted by CFA News & Media