Talking public safety at the Eid Festival
Victoria State Emergency Service (SES) attended the Flemington Eid Festival at Debneys Park, Flemington on Sunday 2 September.
This annual festival celebrates the end of Ramadan, the Islamic period of fasting. About 1,000 people from local ‘Horn of Africa’ communities attended the festival and enjoyed a day of entertainment, food, amusements and a football match between the Australian Federal Police and local youth, which aims to enhance relationships in the community.
This year the festival also provided an ideal opportunity for the SES Multicultural team to work alongside other emergency agencies to engage people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, increasing community awareness of the service and its key safety messaging.
People of all ages and many backgrounds were introduced to SES during the festival, some for the very first time. Children discussed the dangers of playing in floodwater and approaching downed power lines, parents became aware of who to call if they came across a fallen tree blocking a road and young adults inquired about becoming SES members themselves.
SES Director of Emergency Management, Planning and Communication Andrew Gissing joined members in attending the day’s official morning tea, where delegates from the community and emergency agencies discussed enhancing public safety while enjoying African snacks and coffee prepared by the Somali Women’s Development Association.
The day is seen to have significantly raised awareness of the role of SES by African communities in the Flemington area and, as such, was a huge success. It is only one of the many events which the SES Multicultural team will attend in coming months in the interest of enhancing public safety through community engagement.
Faye Bendrups and Marion Petersen from Footscray SES and Peter Marshall, John Witte, David Cunning, Marriette Welter and Jennifer Self from Northcote SES were pivotal to the day’s success. They brought their knowledge of the service, vast operational experience and warm nature to help further enhance the awareness of SES in the community. Their contribution of time, energy and expertise is greatly appreciated. Faye and Marion from Footscray and Chris Patton from Northcote were equally invaluable for their help in preparing for the event.