Photo: Gippsland Disability Advocacy staff member and carer, Rebekah Clarke, said the module is a vital resource to prepare vulnerable people in our communities for the event of an emergency.
To protect Victoria’s vulnerable population this fire season, CFA and Carers Victoria have released a new e-learning module to support carers with bushfire planning.
The module, Bushfire Planning: You and the person you care for, was developed for anyone who provides care or support to someone living with disability, mental illness, chronic health issues or age-related conditions.
Leongatha resident Rebekah Clarke was part of the one in ten Victorians who are unpaid carers, providing support to a family member or friend.
Rebekah cared for her teenage daughter who lives with a chronic neurological disorder – six months of which she was immobile and bedridden.
“In our situation, there were basic challenges we had to consider when making a fire escape plan; she couldn’t tolerate extreme heat and in the bushfire season it’s already so hot, as well as medication and mobility issues,” she said.
“As a former member of the CFA of Baringhup West brigade in my teens, I have always understood the importance of having a bushfire plan for your family in the event of a fire.
“Our family is always prepared, every fire season – but circumstances change when you’re caring for someone and it’s vital to understand any challenges to ensure the person you care for is safe.
“When we were preparing our fire plan with my daughter, there was a great unknown around what we would do to help her because of her condition.”
This week marks National Carers Week (10 – 16 October), and CFA encourages anyone who provides care to someone, to complete the module and keep them safe and prepared.
The module is part of CFA’s broader Preparing Vulnerable People (PVP) project.
The PVP project is a three-year CFA-led initiative aiming to improve bushfire preparedness planning for people who are vulnerable.
Rebekah also works professionally for Gippsland Disability Advocacy and works with people living with disability and their carers.
She said the module is a great resource for all carers in any circumstance, as it covers all aspects of fire preparedness, tailored to keeping those in our community at greater risk safe.
“The module will give carers a sense of security for having a plan in place and takes away the unknown if you do find yourself in an emergency situation.”
Carers Victoria CEO Judith Abbott said, “in direct response to what was learn in the 2019-20 bushfires, Carers Victoria is very proud to have partnered with CFA on this important life-saving resource for carers”.
“It’s the perfect time to empower carers with this online module to help enact, with confidence, a comprehensive bushfire survival plan.”
CFA Chief Officer Jason Heffernan said it’s vital that every person in our community has the opportunity to plan for – and be supported during – a bushfire emergency.
“If you care for someone living in a high-risk bushfire area this learning module is for you,” he said.
Rebekah said vulnerable people don’t always have the luxury of throwing together a last-minute plan in the event of an emergency and the module provides the opportunity to be prepared ahead of fire season.
“The day-to-day challenges carers must consider when caring for someone compound in the event of an emergency, so it’s vital our community is proactive and ensure everyone has a plan.”
The e-learning module, Bushfire Planning: You and the person you care for and its supporting resources are now available on CFA’s website at www.cfa.vic.gov.au/carers.
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