Annual Review stories Community stories: 9 December 2020
The Taromeo Rural Fire Brigade (TRFB) are a busy bunch. While you could be forgiven for thinking their remit was fire preparedness and firefighting, this group of volunteers actually take on a significant number of emergency service preparedness and response activities, as well as community education and outreach. After an increase in fires in the area, they were in need of more trained community volunteers, particularly young people and women, to support their efforts.
Alongside the challenge of more fires in the area, the TRFB were facing challenges with engaging with younger and older members of the community. They were concerned about their understanding of how bushfires can spread and their preparedness and resilience levels if a fire was to occur.
A grant of $4,170, donated by the David MacTaggart Foundation meant that the TRFB were able to create the ‘Don’t Burn the Butt’ community engagement campaign. The TRFB worked with other community organisations in the delivery of ‘Don’t Burn the Butt’ including South Burnett Regional Council, Blackbutt Benarkin Aged Care, SES, Qld Police Service, Blackbutt Medical Centre, Blackbutt Festival and Blackbutt Benarkin Aged Care Association.
The TRFB conducted a door to door engagement campaign, with volunteers knocking on every door in the community to talk about the importance of being prepared for bushfire season, and the benefits of becoming a volunteer. They also ran workshops for community members who were interested in becoming volunteers, to teach them the skills they would need, and were able to purchase equipment that they needed to ensure that they could respond effectively to any fires that occurred.
Les Lane, First Officer of TRFB, told FRRR; “The delivery of a Community Engagement Strategy was a very positive outcome for this project. We now have an additional 4 members of the brigade with truck licenses to respond to fires. This has already proven to be of benefit to the community and the brigade by enabling more team members to be active fire fighters when needed.”
Now, more community members are equipped with the knowledge and support they need to keep themselves and their families safe for this bushfire season, and many more to come.