A summer of bushfires
On 14 January 2014, bushfires started in the Wimmera region and The Wimmera Mail-Times started its coverage bushfires. The team involved committed to providing their community with continuous coverage.
To ensure that that the information they were provided to their community was correct they liaised with the CFA and the incident control centre.
In the past The Wimmer-Times had covered similar fires in the region, however this was the first time that the paper use made full of their print and digital products. As a result of their extensive coverage across multiple channels The Wimmera Mail-Times website received 330,000 views during the bushfires, which demonstrated a much greater reach than previously recorded.
The judges said that this application demonstrated that the journalists involved were dedicated to keeping their local community informed about the bushfires and it was pleasing to see that they engaged with the authorities involved in the fighting the bushfires.
Bushfire Emergency – Accessible Communications
Prior to the 2013/2014 summer bushfire season the Victorian deaf and hard of hearing community had little to no access to vital information on fire planning, preparation and awareness including emergency services broadcasts. This left the community vulnerable to fires.
To address this Sign Language Communication Victoria an arm of VicDeaf approached Emergency Management Victoria, MFB and the CFA with to partner with Victoria’s emergency services to ensure that their community had access to vital emergency information.
As a result 21 Auslan Interpreted videos of bushfire condition updates were made available on CFA’s YouTube channel which VicDeaf was able to share via their website and social media platforms. An Auslan version and captioned video of the Fire Ready magazine was also distributed by the Hearld Sun was made available to deaf and hard of hearing Victorians.
During the 2013/2014 Bushfire season, all EMV televised announcements televised included Auslan interpreter and closed captions.
This initiative ensured that the Victorian Deaf and Hard of hearing community had more readily available access to emergency information enabling them to be better prepared for bushfire season.