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Report of Operations 2007-08 - Community Information and Development

Community Development Programs

CFA places enormous emphasis on planning, community education, legislation and a range of other risk treatments. CFA has made great leaps forward but the journey continues - as problems such as residential fire safety, juvenile fire-lighting behaviours and the emergence of mega fires become increasingly complex CFA seeks to broaden its horizons through new and innovative partnerships.

Research and experience has demonstrated that the majority of people who die in house fires are generally vulnerable - those who have reduced mental capacity, live in isolation or poverty or suffer from a range of other social problems. Alcohol and smoking are also factors in residential fire fatalities. For these people, a hard-hitting television campaign is likely to achieve little, and the best way CFA can make inroads into this group is through partnerships with State-wide and local agencies.

Brigades in Schools

All targets for the 'Brigades in Schools' (BIS) program were surpassed in 2007-08. The number of students participating in BIS was lower than the previous year (2006-07: 47,241 students), largely as a result of the increasing popularity of the Mobile Education Unit (MEU) - see Table 1.

Table 1. Service delivery for Brigades in Schools 2007-08

No. Sessions No. Schools No. Students
1,604 524 34,876

The program has been earmarked for review in 2008-09 with a focus on the relationship between BIS and the MEU. As with 2006-07, the connection of the BIS program to both the Curriculum Standards Framework II and the Victorian Essential Learning Standards has been of benefit to CFA.

Mobile Education Unit

The number of MEU sessions delivered increased by 15 per cent on the previous year (2006-07: 543 sessions delivered). Details are shown in Table 2.

Table 2. Service delivery for Mobile Education Unit 2007-08

No. Sessions No. Students No. CFA Areas Visited
626 14,899 7

Feedback from schools continues to be extremely positive. The unit provides a new environment for student learning.

The MEU was featured at all three of this year's State Championship competitions, providing all participating CFA members with an opportunity to view and understand the new program. The MEU will continue to be a part of the Championship series each year. The MEU will also be used at other major events around the State where there is a connection to the program.

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Early Fire Safe

The significant upgrade of the 'Early Fire Safe' program in 2006-07 has seen numbers increase on previous years as shown in Figure 4. The total number of participants in 2007-08 was 1,975.

Figure 4. Service delivery for 'Early Fire Safe' 2006-07 to 2007-08

Service delivery for 'Early Fire Safe' 2006-07 to 2007-08

Feedback on the redeveloped program has been very positive, due to the increase usability of the program. The program will undergo annual reviews, to ensure that it meets its purpose.

Hard to Reach

People aged 65 years and over are in one of the highest fire risk groups in the community and have an elevated risk of fire fatality and injury, which also increases as they continue to age.

With MFB as the lead agency, CFA has been working towards the development and inclusion of competencies in the Community Services Training Package to address this risk. This package is almost complete, and includes three new units that fall under 33 qualifications in the training package. There is full support Australia wide among the fire services for these units.

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Change Your Clock Campaign

The 2008 'Change Your Clock, Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery' campaign was implemented across Victoria during February, March and early April leading up to the end of Daylight Saving on 6 April 2008.

The impact of he campaign increased from the previous year, with a 26 per cent increase in the number of media clips picked up by Media Monitors to 172 clips in 2007-08, and a 25 per cent increase in campaign reach as shown in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Service delivery for 'Change your Clock' campaign 2006-07 to 2007-08 Service delivery for 'Change your Clock' campaign 2006-07 to 2007-08

Media releases were distributed to all metropolitan, regional, suburban and specialist media.

Consumer promotions were arranged with Herald Sun 'Corinella' (children's pages).

Media Packs, including a First Alert smoke alarm, Duracell fire bunny and batteries, were sent to metropolitan and regional weather presenters and selected radio and TV presenters.

V/Line was approached and agreed to display campaign posters at 100 regional rail stations. It also included an article in its monthly newsletter and distributed 2,000 campaign magnets over the Easter weekend, its busiest train travel weekend of the year.

Area firefighters were involved in local photo opportunities for suburban and regional newspapers. A campaign photo was widely used and helped with campaign and Duracell exposure.

Campaign posters were displayed in all fire stations and the campaign was promoted where possible through websites and newsletters. CFA and MFB spokespersons were involved in interviews with local radio stations.

The MFB and CFA attended 20 Bunnings stores as part of the Bunnings fire safety in-store promotion during the weeks of the campaign.

Winter Program

The launch of the Winter Program media campaign occurred on 15 May 2008 at the Alfred Hospital. Representatives from all the partner agencies - MFB, The Alfred, Archicentre, Energy Safe Victoria and CFA - participated.

Press and radio advertisements featured an elderly burns victim, Maria, and her daughter, Rosa, as well as a burns surgeon, Dr Michael Weymouth. This theme was reproduced in posters.

The 'Check Your Hotspots' theme has continued and is used on posters, websites and press ads. The 'Check Your Hotspots' website was updated and made more interactive.

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