January 2009 - Page 10

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Building Partnerships


Networks for Learning

  Putting theory into practice at Nepabunna.

The establishment of a CFS Brigade at the Nepabunna Aboriginal Community and the resultant partnership that has developed between the CFS Region Four, the Stirling North Brigade and the community is creating a useful and interactive forum for learning.

In 2004 SAFECOM, the CFS and the Nepabunna Community undertook a risk assessment identifying several areas in relation to the emergency management needs of the community.  The results of this assessment prompted members of the community to express their keenness and willingness to work with the CFS to build their own capacity and capability to respond to and recover from emergency incidents.


Beginning in 2005, training was delivered to members of the community in all areas of firefighting and incident response.  Volunteer members from the Stirling North CFS Brigade, along with Regional staff visited the community to facilitate the training and to develop friendship and operational bonds between the two services.

The hard work done by both parties was celebrated with the delivery of the Nepabunna 24 tanker at the end of 2007 and a Brigade opening.

The latest initiative in this venture has seen a collaborative partnership between the Nepabunna Brigade and the Stirling North Brigade which is facilitating valuable learnings for members of both Brigades.

Under this initiative members from both Brigades visit each other twice a year participating in multi agency exercises.  For members of the Nepabunna Brigade, it helps increase their knowledge and training in emergency management, whilst for members of the Stirling North Brigade, it is helping them to understand and learn more about the culture, language, customs and traditions of an Indigenous community.

"The establishment of a brigade within the community, the ongoing training, and now this latest exchange initiative has not only helped both Brigades to build their capabilities, but it has also created opportunities for the Brigades to learn more about each other as individuals," said Nik Ludborzs, Regional Prevention Officer, CFS Region Four.

"This is giving the volunteer members of the Nepabunna Brigade the confidence to consider using their skills to look beyond the boundaries of their own community and to be able to help other communities in Stirling North and the Northern Flinders Ranges," Nik said.


The Nepabunna Brigade includes a team of 12 volunteers from the Nepabunna Community who are soon hoping to extend their skills beyond fire fighting capabilities with the provision of training from the CFS in first aid training, road crash rescue and response to hazardous chemical spills.

"This initiative has provided us with valuable learnings about the delivery of training in remote Indigenous communities and has provided a sound model for future training programs in this environment.  It gives us a good base for implementing the objectives of the National Strategy: Keeping our Mob Safe," Nik said.

"We are extremely pleased Brigade members at the Nepabunna community are a valuable emergency management capability within this region."

Members of the Nepabunna Brigade practice their skills.

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