Ferntree Gully Fire Brigade ran a bushfire community meeting at Koolunga Native Reserve on Sunday morning January 17.
Two meetings were held last Sunday morning in other areas that we had identified as posing significant risk to residents.
The meetings were extensively advertised using letterbox drops to over 600 properties in our Bushfire Management Overlay area.
Street signs were also used as well as our fire station notice board, and two real estate notice boards provided by a local agent.
Facebook has become a very significant way of passing on information to our community and it was used extensively to promote these meetings.
At the 2014 Community Safety Forum, I attended a workshop held by a Queensland brigade situated in the Goldcoast Hinterland.
They talked about how they had provided a free coffee van to help attract residents. That seemed a good idea and for the past two fire seasons, we have used a local mobile coffee van to promote our meetings. It seems to have worked!
A few years ago, we held meetings at our fire station, but they did not attract the numbers of residents that we wanted to hear our community messages.
In the 2015 fire season, we promoted larger outdoor meetings in the areas where we believe that there was a significant risk.
They were interactive and went no longer than 45 minutes although residents could talk with the Brigade Captain and Brigade Officers and members as needed after the conclusion of the meeting.
We have promoted the same model in 2016.
So far this summer fire season, we have had 182 residents come to our three meetings.
The Brigade advertises the meetings at "Understanding your Bushfire Risk".
We design our format around that theme.
It is amazing just how comfortable community members seem to be when attending these meetings and it is also a great opportunity to network because it is surprising to find out just who lives in your brigade area.
Words and pictures: Graham Crichton
Author: CFA News