Community Resilience

  Comment Banner Dec 2009

Bushfire Awareness Week a major success


Considerable positive publicity focusing on the nationally agreed theme of PREPARE. ACT. SURVIVE. was achieved during the inaugural Bushfire Awareness Week, which was held in South Australia from October 19-25.

Devised as a vehicle to heighten public awareness of the new Fire Danger Ratings framework and the importance of preparing your property for a bushfire and having your own Bushfire Survival Plan, the week was launched by Emergency Services Minister Michael Wright, supported by CFS Chief Officer Euan Ferguson and MFS Chief Officer Grant Lupton, at Athelstone CFS on 18 October. At the launch, Minister Wright announced an additional $5.2 million to boost bushfire community awareness and education which was welcomed by both chief officers.

  Working closely with media partners The Advertiser/Adelaide Now, the ABC and FIVEaa, a number of publicity initiatives were undertaken during the week. A theme was developed for each day of the week and appropriate media releases and media opportunities were developed by the SAFECOM Public Affairs Unit in conjunction with Ministerial staff to leverage key messages including property preparation, the risk of bushfires in urban fringe areas and the new Fire Danger Ratings framework. Bushfire Awareness Week Launch

While most South Australian media outlets were very supportive during Bushfire Awareness Week, the ABC was exemplary. During the week, the ABC aired 65 stories on various bushfire topics on its network of radio stations in Adelaide and throughout rural South Australia. The media stories were reinforced with numerous community service announcements on Bushfire Awareness Week and PREPARE. ACT. SURVIVE. that were broadcast by both ABC radio and FIVEaa.

The highlight of the week occurred on Thursday when a special Bushfire Information Hotline was opened to take calls from the general public. This was timed to coincide with an ABC radio outside broadcast of the Matt Abraham and David Bevan morning program from the Belair CFS station. The hotline received 163 calls between 8.30am and 12 noon while Euan joined Allan Holmes, the Chief Executive of the Department of Environment and Heritage, and politicians Iain Evans and Bob Such in an hour-long ABC radio panel discussion.

Two online videos - one featuring Ray Jackson (CFS Region 1 Fire Prevention Officer) and the other Leigh Miller (CFS Manager Prevention Services) - were filmed at the property of CFS volunteer Ray White in the Adelaide Hills. To date, more than 1000 people have logged on to Adelaide Now to view the two videos. The video with Ray showed the steps that need to be taken to ensure a property is Bushfire Ready while Leigh outlined the new Fire Danger Ratings framework.

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