Close to 500 Country Fire Authority (CFA) and Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) volunteers from around Victoria will come together this weekend at Creswick for a first-ever joint forum to talk about better and new ways to reach communities.
The State forum, held on 1-2 August, will give emergency services members – many of them leaders in their local communities – a platform to share ideas on how to prepare communities for disaster.
This is the fifth annual state forum for CFA, but the first event with SES and approximately 500 personnel in total will attend. Members are travelling from as far away as Mildura (5 hours away) and Mallacoota (6 hours away).
VICSES Chief Executive Officer Stephen Griffin said the forum was a fantastic opportunity to meet our colleagues in CFA, learn and build on each of our strengths.
“I believe that by working together we’ll be able to better create more engaging community programs and learn from each other’s strengths,” he said.
“This is a huge priority for us – reaching the Victorian community and promoting awareness, preparation and cross-agency response to all hazards is a key part of the work we do to save lives and keep people safe.”
CFA Chief Officer Euan Ferguson said there were many similarities between CFA and SES, and the agencies could learn a lot from each other.
“We will encourage our people to listen and learn from our friends in SES, particularly, better ways to educate our communities about being fire and flood ready, and share local community safety initiatives."
“The way the two agencies engage with the community on all hazards, including fire, flood and storm is important, and this will be a key focus for the forum.”
Around 100 VICSES members are expected to attend the forum, joining forces with 400 CFA members.
Many of the leaders are deeply involved and passionate about their communities. 40 VICSES Units will be represented at the forum along with more than 205 different CFA brigades.
The forum is an opportunity to share knowledge and experiences, helping each agency to better educate communities about disaster preparation and strengthen community resilience.
The CFA-SES Community Engagement and Hazard Awareness State Forum will be held at the Novotel Forest Resort in Creswick.