The Surf Coast Shire held the ‘Fire Up Aireys Inlet’ Resilient Communities Program event on December 6th in the Aireys Inlet Community Hall. Representatives of emergency services organisations provided important information about bushfire preparedness and invited community members to join in an interactive fire scenario exercise.
AIDA promoted the event by emailing the following notice to all members with email access: “The AIDA committee considers that fire preparedness for our district is one of the main issues of concern to our members and urges you to consider attending this briefing session being held by the Shire on Saturday 6 December. RSVPs are requested so that the size of room will be appropriate. This information was included with the last Groundswell in some areas, but not all of our area was included.”
AIDA committee members Angela Berry, Annette Comte and Gary Johnson attended the event and Gary reported that:
“The Fire Up Aireys Inlet event was a great success in attracting and hopefully educating residents. 77 people registered and at least that many attended. All relevant agencies were present so we had the opportunity to ask questions during the session or at the Shire-sponsored lunch.
I asked the organiser Lauren Watt whether she felt that the AIDA email (to members encouraging that they attend) had had an impact. At the time AIDA sent members the pdf about the event, 30 had registered. So although we can’t be sure, it is likely that many of the additional 47 attended because of AIDA’s reminder or notification. It was the largest turnout at any of the town meetings.
Of interest, at least 50% of the attendees indicated that they were not permanent residents. They are the ones that the Shire has had trouble engaging. Many attendees realised, probably for the first time, that their fates are totally dependent on their pre-existing plan and decisions made before and during a bushfire. There will be no knock on the door saying that they should get out, and no fire truck saving their home. And it could be as little as 2 hours from the time a fire breaks out until departure is not possible.”