2014 Community Preparedness Award winners and finalists

Bushfire Planning Workshops for parents

In the wake of the 2009 Fires and implementation of DEECD’s Risk Register the Emerald Community House’s childcare centre realised that the parents and carers of children in their care had no understanding of the procedures in place if a fire broke out on a day that that the childcare centre was open and also had limited knowledge and practice in implementing their own fire plans.

Given this situation Emerald Community House chose to take on the role of educating the parents and carers in fire preparedness.

The goals that the Emerald Community House set out to achieve were:

  • Raise parents and staff awareness of fire risk within childcare management scenarios
  • Create a safer childcare environment operating in a high risk fire area by reducing our risk through education and preparedness of staff and parents
  • To create an enrolment policy in order that parents/carers would attend a bushfire planning workshop conducted by CFA as part of our childcare enrolment policy.
  • Host CFA Bushfire Planning Weeks to run throughout the year for new enrolments.
  • Pioneer the Bushfire Planning Weeks policy initiative as an incorporated association to act as an example of what other childcare centres, clubs, organisations and groups could do with their own membership, staff and customers

As a result of this program the Emerald Community House was able to achieve the following

  • Bushfire Planning Weeks have been provided to 100 childcare parents in a year with steady managed attendance.
  • Establishing a shared responsibility between parents and Emerald Community House as an community based incorporated association of which parents are members
  • Parents made aware of Bushfire Planning Weeks at Emerald Community House

Community Corrections CFA bushfire prevention partnership – Gippsland

After the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission recommended the development of and implement of new roadside fuel management strategies to better manage roadside vegetation and the associated bushfire risk to the community.

To implement and manage new roadside fuel management strategy the Gippsland’s CFA needed far more man hours of preparation that their volunteers could contribute.  To make up the necessary of man hours, the Gippsland CFA approached the local arm of Department of Justice, Community Corrections.

Together they established two teams of up to 20 offenders who were trained and equipped to undertake works on a weekly basis in targeted very high and extreme bushfire risk communities.

This partnership resulted in the teams constructed several kilometres of fuel reduction burn control lines, significantly contributing to the CFA fuel reduction burn program.

Not only did this program benefit this local community by being able to meet the Victorian Royal Commission’s recommendations therefore reducing the risk to the local community, the program also lead to improved self-esteem of the offenders involved in the program.

Surf Coast Shire Resilient Communities Project

The Surf Coast Shire Council recorded an increase in the number of phone calls from residents asking for advice on bushfire preparedness. This increase highlighted there was a significant gap in knowledge in the community relating to bushfire preparedness and recovery.

The Municipal Emergency Management Planning Committee decided to address this through the creation of the Surf Coast Shire’s Resilient Communities project.  The project sought to build resilience in four key ways:

  • increased awareness of fire behaviour, local risks and personal risks
  • build understanding of various agency roles and community responsibilities
  • provide locally relevant information to help people better prepare
  • build local connections both within the community and between communities and agencies.

Two multiagency lead scenario based community workshops were held in the Surf Coast Shire’s five highest bushfire risk townships.

More than 200 residents attended workshops and:

  • 92% of attendees reported that they learnt new about fire
  • 77% of people feel more confident about their ability to respond when a bushfire threatens
  • 23% indicating that they would feel more confident
  • 98% of people said they would take action as a result of information they heard at the workshop
  • 100% of participants found the session useful to their fire planning

The success of this program has highlighted how local councils and agencies can work together to ensure that their community is aware of the potential bushfire risk, and the roles of the agencies and the community in preparedness and during a fire.


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