Community Safety

The focus on improvements to enhance community safety continued throughout 2010-11.

A key focus was the new Township Protection Plans, which provide communities with local information to help plan at a local or township level in bushfire prevention, preparedness and response.

The new TPPs are designed to increase community engagement in their development, reflecting genuine planning with communities.

Improvements to community warnings and advice and to the VicEmergency Hotline have also been made to ensure that communities continue to receive timely and accurate warnings and information.

During 2010-11, research began to investigate better methods to assess grassland curing. This supports the more precise calculation of grassland fire danger indices that improve the accuracy of fire danger ratings.

FireReady Roadshow

Between December 2010 and February 2011 the FireReady Roadshow visited the 52 most at-risk townships in Victoria. Volunteers across the State took part in this > face-to-face opportunity to engage with the community on local information.

“I was surprised not only by the number of people coming over, but how many of them really wanted to get more information,” said Community Education Coordinator Chris Carey. “We must have chatted with around 90 per cent of people about their fire plan.”

Winter Fire Safety Campaign

The joint CFA/MFB Winter Fire Safety Campaign urged all Victorians to take responsibility for fire safety in their own homes.

Minister for Police and Emergency Services Peter Ryan and Gippsland Regional Manager Mark Reid launched the regional campaign from Sale College with the assistance of Sale brigade. A metropolitan launch was held with Regional Commander David Sherry, Fire Services Commissioner Craig Lapsley, members of the Boronia,
Montrose and The Basin brigades as well as MFB representatives.

Community Infrastructure

Wildfire management overlays (WMO) were added to the planning schemes of an additional 26 municipalities. During 2010-11, CFA processed 2,392 single dwelling
WMO applications. This is a 45 per cent increase over the previous year and many of the applications were complex.

To address these issues we have:

We supported the Department of Planning and Community Development (DPCD), Building Commission and DSE by implementing the building and planning
recommendations in Chapter 6 of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission’s final report. This work focused on:

Online Communication

We continued to increase our online community engagement, particularly through social media. Our Facebook page has 90,000 followers, and warnings and advice are now automatically distributed through Twitter.

We again held online bushfire safety meetings across the summer. These meetings ensure critical fire safety messages can be shared with community members unable to attend offline meetings. They are hosted by a live presenter and incorporate the content of offline FireReady Victoria Meetings with embedded graphics, audio and video. These engaging one-hour meetings allow participants to receive critical bushfire preparation advice without leaving the comfort of their homes.

We updated our public website to make it easier to navigate and to improve its performance. A specific mobile version was created for users of smart phones and
other portable network devices. We received an award from Vision Australia for the improvements to our website to make it easier to use for vision impaired people.

CFA Connect, our online multimedia news and chat site, was redesigned in May 2011 and was a national finalist in the Australian Government Information Communication Technology Awards, under the category ‘Excellence in e-Government’.

It’s about influencing lives, helping prevent injury and instilling lifelong values.
Kinglake District Fire Brigade member and Fire Safe Kids presenter Travis Griffith