Bushfire resilience

Article image - Bushfire resilience Chief Bushfire Control Officer Mark Casotti, former Communications Co-ordinator Rebecca Noakes, Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Throssell and Shire President David Lavell.

Shire of Mundaring has been named a finalist in the State Emergency Management’s WA Resilience Australia Awards.

Mundaring President David Lavell said the Shire was nominated for its annual Test Your Bush Fire Survival Plan (TYBFSP) Day.

“This award is a huge achievement for our Shire and acknowledges the work we undertake to help prepare our community for disasters,” he said.

“Test Your Bush Fire Survival Plan Day is an initiative of our former Communications Co-ordinator Rebecca Noakes who saw a need to further help our community be prepared.

“She created an online event run through the Shire’s Facebook page which would help residents write and then test a survival plan.

“Residents who subscribe to the event are given mock scenarios every five minutes over a 30 minute period which allows people to sit at home with members of their household and review their plans against the different scenarios.”

Cr Lavell said TYBFSP was an innovative event and the perfect way to connect with their socially savvy community.

“We’ve had some wonderful feedback about the online event. A lady who lost her home in the 2014 Parkerville, Stoneville, Mt Helena Bushfire stated after the 2013 event that she was better prepared for acting quickly because she had taken part in this event.

“More feedback in 2015 showed it helped another resident in planning an escape route, which she needed to put in place a few weeks later.”

Cr Lavell said the Shire was honoured to be named alongside other organisations doing great things to increase resilience across the state.

“We’re delighted to be recognised for our commitment to prepare our community. In addition to our local volunteer brigades and general maintenance, the Shire has invested significant resources in recent years to help residents prepare for emergencies,” he said.

“Around one third of our Shire is natural forest and our residents enjoy a peaceful lifestyle amongst nature. Unfortunately however that means we face a serious threat in bushfire season.

“We are currently preparing for the 2016 Test Your Bush Fire Survival Plan Day and trust it will assist more residents feel comfortable with their plans ahead of summer.”

The Shire has also been successful in securing funding from the All West Australians Reducing Emergencies, known as the AWARE program.

In partnership with Australia Red Cross and Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the Shire has employed an Emergency Preparedness Officer.

This is a 12-month pilot project where the officer is working with community groups, residents and vulnerable groups to increase community engagement activities to promote emergency preparedness and mitigation.

The State Emergency Management’s WA Resilience Australia Awards were presented at a ceremony on Wednesday 14 September at The Constitutional Centre of Western Australia.