2017 RACV Insurance Award for Excellence Winner and Finalists

Winner

Monterey Fire Ready

Led by: Monterey Secondary College, Magenta Safety Training, Parks Victoria

Monterey Secondary College is a school in Frankston North, one of Victoria’s most disadvantaged areas. In an environment where there has been arson, vandalism and anti-social behaviour the school was looking to improving student’s educational and life prospects. Inspired by work with Parks Victoria, the school developed an education program in collaboration with Magenta Safety Training and Parks Victoria. The program – Monterey Fire Ready – involves students completing a Public Safety Certificate in Fire Awareness, where students at the college learn a range of practical skills about fire, such as safe clothing, how to respond to a car accident, and electrical safety in the home. The program also connects with Parks Victoria, where students are involved in fuel monitoring in their local area.

The benefits of the program have been wide-ranging and about more than just fire awareness. For students, working with firefighters on practical skills has motivated them to learn, provided mentors, opened up new career pathways and deterred arson.

Judges commended the project for effectively promoting fire safety and for its transformative impact on students.

Finalists

Balmoral Fire Connect

Led by: Southern Grampians Glenelg Primary Care Partnership

Supported by:  RMIT Centre for Urban Research, Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre, Country Fire Authority

Balmoral Fire Connect is a project started by  the Southern Grampians-Glenelg Primary Care Partnership. The project uses innovative approaches to reach people often missed by bushfire safety education. Partnering with RMIT University, the project mapped connections between Balmoral Bush Nursing Centre staff and their community, and had staff pass on bushfire safety information, helping reach older people and their families. The project also had two local community groups “pass a parcel” of information around their community, passing information packs on to their neighbours friends and families.

The project reached a diverse group, starting conversations about fire across the community.

The judges commended the project for great inclusion and its transferability to other places.

Barnawartha – Indigo Valley Bushfire Recovery

Led by: Indigo Valley Bushfire Community Recovery Committee

Supported by: Indigo Shire Council, Department of Health and Human Services, Regional Development Victoria, Country Fire Authority, Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Parks Victoria, Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources, North East Catchment Management Authority, Gateway Health, Ag Biz Assist, Australian Red Cross, Middle Indigo Primary School

The Indigo Valley Bushfire Recovery project was started after a bushfire on December 20th 2015, when a community-led recovery committee was set up to respond to the fire.

The committee took a community-led process to identify needs and priorities after the fire and tailor actions to local needs.

As part of the project the committee identified communication as the key to ensuring the community was safer and committed to improving communication so that “no-one is left out of the loop”. It implemented a system of phone trees across the valley to improve communication during emergencies and a range of initiatives that have changed social interactions.  For example, regular crafter sessions held at the CFA sheds, regular walking groups between neighbours and a community led newsletter have all helped to connect residents more frequently and support community preparedness.

 

Cape Otway Fuel Reduction and Ecological Burns Program

Led by: Conservation Ecology Centre

Supported by: Country Fire Authority, Southern Otway Landcare Network

The Cape Otway Fuel Reduction and Ecological Burns Program was started by the Conservation Ecology Centre and is working to reduce fuel hazard and improve biodiversity in Cape Otway.

The project started with a study to understand how significant changes in land use and fire were impacting biodiversity. It has since developed partnerships with CFA and Southern Otway Landcare Network to deliver planned burns on private land. Based on knowledge gained from the study and ongoing data collection, the program is changing traditional approaches to burning, moving from less frequent high intensity burns to more frequent cooler burns.

Along the way, the program has built relationships with local residents, having conducted 19 burns on 14 private properties.

The judges commended the project for combining an evidence-based approach to fire management, with collaborative engagement, to reduce bushfire impact and improve biodiversity.

 

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