The SAFE program was held on 19, 20 and 21 April at the St Andrews Tennis Complex in Eleventh Street Mildura. During the 3 days, 651 primary aged children attended from 10 local schools.
SAFE is an acronym standing for Safety Awareness Field Education. The objectives of the program are to reduce the risk from the impact of disasters by creating awareness through interactive and practical learning sessions by enhancing individual student’s capability and resilience for emergency situations. The long term benefits to communities are to create a safer environmental and a basic understanding for families to be able to take responsibility in an emergency situation.
SAFE is delivered in a single location enabling schools to receive multiple educational messages from different agencies in one day. On a large scale there is school and media interest, as well as a safety focus. From an agency point of view, messages are delivered to a number of groups in a condensed time, rather than visiting each school individually throughout the year. The program brings together key agencies to deliver fun and interactive safety messages to children, which they in turn take home and share with family and friends and prompt repeated exposure of messages. Students rotate through 5 x 30 minute structured lessons in order to gain maximum impact and benefit from the sessions. The lunchtime activity for children to participate in is a treasure hunt giving the opportunity to run off some energy after sitting through 4 presentations.
Although coordinated by CFA, SAFE is a multi agency event and this time round we were fortunate the partnership was between 7 agencies with some of these delivering multiple sessions –
- Ambulance Victoria
- Crime Stoppers Victoria
- Life Saving Victoria
- Mallee Domestic Violence
- Victoria Police
- CFA North West Region Community Education Group.
In addition to those above, the program could not have been delivered without the support of ESTA, the Mildura Rural City Council and the Royal Flying Doctor Service.
At the end of each day, every child receives a bag containing resources from the various agencies, and each teacher is given a resource pack to take back with them to utilise in the classroom to enhance the lessons delivered during the day. Information provided in the student bags is extremely important as it reinforces the key messages delivered to students by getting this information into their homes and also has the potential to reach adults. This then serves as a twofold benefit to delivery of SAFE. Teachers attending the event were given a USB containing the teacher resource packs electronically to allow additional items to be provided to schools where in the past some agencies have not had access to the required number of resources.
Thankyou to the following CFA members who supported the event:
- Administration Officer Melissa Cheek who without her efforts both leading up to and during the event SAFE would not run as smoothly as it did
- Doreen Raven and Wendy Cook from CFA’s North West Region Community Education Group who undertook delivery of the CFA Home Fire Safety and Smoke House sessions
- Mildura Brigade member Zach Stanbrough who came along for 2 days where he was mentored by Doreen and Wendy and then delivered some of the CFA sessions
- Regional BASO Beth Taylor who delivered the CFA Campfire Safety session
- District 18 BASO Carla Howard for providing admin support
- OIC Mildura Station Ron Shiner for supporting the event and spending time checking out the various agency presentations
- Assistant Chief Officer Gavin Thompson who travelled to Mildura to officially open the event and witness the multi-agency partnership in operation
- Manager Community Safety David Allen for assisting with setup and for providing support
- Service Delivery Planning Coordinator Maxine Sleep for providing guidance and continually supporting the program.
Story by Paul Tangey
Community Education Coordinator
North West Region
Author: Bec McDonald