Jo Hardy has won the 2020 Excellence in Community Engagement for her dedication to community engagement and education in her town of Yellingbo.
The Award recognises CFA members who have worked collaboratively to develop and apply innovative approaches to community engagement. Their dedication to community safety and resilience has created meaningful and lasting relationships and results.
Jo has been a key player in ensuring that all members of her community are empowered with the knowledge and tools to keep their families and property safe from fire.
In the summer of 2018 Jo recognised a need for an additional channel to keep her community up to date with the latest advice relevant to their local area so she started a quarterly newsletter. She consults the brigade management team, community education coordinators, and members of Yellingbo Fire Brigade to develop clear and concise content to empower community members with relevant fire safety information.
Jo also reaches the younger audiences by delivering the Fire Safe Kids Program to the children in Yellingbo and the surrounding areas at local kinders and primary school.
Jo enjoys connecting with the local community and tailoring her engagement to suit their needs.
“It’s great to receive feedback and answer questions on subjects that they are concerned about if a fire occurred,” Jo said. “We are there to support them and help them make the right decisions.
“You know when you have made a difference because they go away feeling better. It gives us more of an understanding for what the community needs.
“It motivates me knowing that the community is using the information we put out there about fire safety in their homes and how they can use that information to keep their families safe.
“Since joining the brigade in 2012 I have learnt a lot about fire and how it behaves and I want to pass that knowledge onto the community.”
Jo has been Yellingbo brigade’s community safety coordinator for six years and was re-elected to continue the role this year.
Jo enjoys the role and wants to continue to improve her knowledge to support her community.
Jo said receiving the Spirit of CFA Award for Excellence in Community Engagement was a real surprise and honour and she couldn’t do what she does without the support of her family and brigade.