2015 Fire Services Award for Local-led Prevention and Preparedness winner and finalists

Winner

New Parents’ Safety Program

When CFA’s Diamond Creek Brigade was looking for new opportunities to teach fire safety messages to its community, Fiona Macken from CFA Diamond Creek Brigade suggested partnering Maternal and Child Health Centres in the delivery of their new parent programs.

Initially the program rolled out with the help of Maternal and Child Health Nurses at the MCH Centre in Diamond Creek who allowed the CFA Diamond Creek Brigade to come in and present to new parent groups on the issues of home fire safety, bushfire preparedness and safety,  as well as prevention of burns and scalds in small children.

The project has delivered high quality, timely and relevant information to all new parents in the Diamond Creek and wider community for over a year.

Due to the success of this program, Fiona has been invited to present to new parents groups in Nillumbik and other CFA brigades including CFA Hurstbridge and  CFA Doreen are also adopting the program.

Finalists

Caravan Park Operators – Fire awareness, preparedness and response

Developed by CFA Ocean Grove Fire Brigade volunteer members and Caravan Park Operators, the Fire awareness, preparedness and response program ensures that local caravan park operators are aware of the fire risks that their environment poses and what actions to undertake in case of a fire.

The program includes  a four hour session that is run early December each year where the CFA Community Fire Safety Officer, the Council Municipal EHO and the Council Building Surveyor provide attendees with practical information on the importance of establishing and maintaining an effective Emergency Management Plan for their park and their roles and responsibilities in an emergency. The attendees also take part in fire suppression and portable fire extinguisher session training.

As part of the program the brigade also conducts pre-summer visits to the local caravan parks in conjunction with the inspection of areas identified in Bellarine Fire Brigades’ Group Community Safety Plan. These visits assists the park operators in identifying areas that require clearance of vegetation and allows the brigade to update contact and exposure details for pre-incident plans, and to increase awareness of the park environment.

Since its initial development, the Ocean Grove Fire Brigade has worked with the Victorian Caravan Parks Association to roll out the program state wide. In 2014 more than 60 caravan park operators participated in the program in Ocean Grove.

Macclesfield’s Fuel Reduction Program

In 2013, prior to fire season, the CFA Macclesfield Brigade set about reducing fuel in the area beyond the government mandate. They identified the large forest area North and North West of the township posed a high risk and that they needed to reduce fuel loads in the area.

They initially looked at how fire travels and undertook an impact assessment on the area. They then worked with their local LandCare and local residents to identify the types of plants in the area and their potential impact if a fire came through the region.

From this planning and research the team were able to undertake weed removal, revegetation and planned burning over two properties, totalling 50 hectares over several years.

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