The Innovation and Design Award recognises innovative design, construction, use of technology or product development in the area of fire safety and protection.

The design or innovation must have been developed and tested in Victoria, Australia.

Examples of projects include but are not restricted to:

  • innovative community communication tools or apps
  • community safety warning systems
  • products that contribute to firefighting operations
  • building design and construction
  • community design solutions
  • new fire safety products or services
  • innovative use of information/communication technology.

Fire service involvement can be in a supporting role where appropriate (for example in a user testing role), but they cannot have commissioned the project.

The Award will be judged in two streams:

  • Community – this stream includes not-for-profit organisations, individuals, community groups, volunteer groups, schools or tertiary institutions.
  • Industry – this stream includes commercial enterprise, business, local council or government departments.

2016 Innovation and Design Award winner

Early Vegetation Fire Detection System for Overhead Power-Line


Where appropriate projects must meet the standards and procedures of the Victorian fire agencies.

Projects that have been previously shortlisted as a Fire Awareness Award finalist cannot be resubmitted without further significant development.

All projects entered must have been in place within 2 years of the opening date for entry in the 2016 Awards (30 June 2014 and 30 June 2016), and implemented in Victoria.

CFA, DELWP, MFB, EMV and Parks Victoria employees and members are ineligible to enter this category.

Fire service agencies should apply to one of the Fire Services Awards: Local-led Prevention and Preparedness; Partnership; or Project of State Significance awards.

Examples of projects

2015 Innovation and Design Award finalists

Bushfire Evacuation Simulation for Community Preparedness and Planning – led by School of Computer Science and Information Technology, RMIT University

The project developed a Bushfire Evacuation virtual simulation tool which allows users to have a bird’s eye view of an unfolding bushfire situation in the community incorporating bushfire (Phoenix simulated fire) and the movement of traffic in an evacuation. The simulation tool is open-source, and therefore free for use by anyone, from emergency services units, to local community groups.

Each resident is modelled individually, so the virtual residents all behave differently depending on their personal situation. Bottlenecks in traffic quickly become apparent, such as around key intersections or slow roads.

This kind of simulation exercise can be valuable for:

  • community education and engagement
  • joint emergency planning
  • understanding how the actions of everyone impacts the overall evacuation including traffic jams
  • a visual feel for how the fire may realistically spread in the community
  • emergency services to plan an evacuation at a high level, by scheduling how and when the different regions of the community should be evacuated
  • training for incident controllers.

Bushfire Evacuation Simulation

Using GIS to minimise fire threats posed by revegetation activities in the Wimmera – led by Wimmera Catchment Management Authority

Wimmera Catchment Management Authority (CMA) identified that there was no existing mechanism to detect threats posed by revegetation activities conducted as part of Landcare funding streams and each CMA’s internal programs. With the support of CFA Grampians Region they developed a set of rules to trigger a referral to the CFA if revegetation activities were scoped to take place in areas which may elevate fire risks into the future.

Using GIS, weighted buffer distances were applied to the ‘Victorian Fire Risk Register – Bushfire’ (VFRR-B) datasets to proportionally extend the area around important assets. Buffer distances were defined based on the asset’s type, risk rating and potential for ember attack.  Once created, these buffers were merged and mapped to develop a new dataset, describing areas of high risk where the addition of vegetation to the landscape may be deemed inappropriate.  The product has been setup to automatically generate the buffers, so that the dataset would remain up-to-date when updated VFRR-B datasets are supplied by CFA quarterly. This means that the most up to date information is always available.

By avoiding planting in potentially inappropriate locations, this initiative ultimately aims to reduce fire risk, as it allows project managers to be more pragmatic in choosing sites for revegetation projects.

VESDA-E VEU & VEA led by Xtralis

The system has been designed for high rise apartment blocks, office blocks and shopping centres to reduce the number of false alarm call outs that fire brigades have to attend.

The product is able to evaluate the amount of smoke particles in the air against the pre-determined smoke particle levels that indicate that it is a not a false alarm (false alarms are often caused for example by burnt toast or the presence of dust or exhaust particles).

2015 Innovation and Design Award winner

Medium Pumper

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