ROUND TABLE REPORT

December meeting

Wendy is our representative on the Round Table, and has prepared this interesting report on the December meeting. The theme was ‘Community Preparedness for Bushfires’. Jenny McGennisken from the CFA gave a presentation on understanding warnings and advice.

 

  • 80% of people still do not have a Bushfire Plan.

  • Warning messaging is broken into 3 categories; Total Fire Ban Days, Fire Danger ratings (indicates fire behaviour ie. Extreme and Severe), and Warnings & Advice, with 3 levels of warnings, being Advice, Watch & Act, and Emergency Warnings.

  • SEWS-Standard Emergency Warning Signal, usually given on radio.

  • Radio effective media. Social media for younger audiences.

  • OSOM (One Source-One Message) predefined templates-Warnings-Leave now means it is still safe to do so; it is not an order to evacuate. Stay means it is too late to leave safely; shelter indoors!

  • Location-based alerting via telephone now provided by all phone carriers. (The problem is 2/3 of Grampians don’t have mobile coverage.

  • Fire-ready Apps for mobile phones; All hazards approach.

 

After the Mt Difficult fire in 1999 a study was commissioned to consider tourism industry impacts in case of fire. RMIT did the bulk of the work, and their report is available on Northern Grampians Shire website.

 

Findings;

 

  1. Tourists seek advice from accommodation providers, but providers indicated they would not be confident advising guests.

  2. Most tourists want a warning to tell them what to do

  3. Accommodation managers expect to be advised by emergency managers of what to do.

 

A recent survey found nothing has changed since 1999. Multiple changes of accommodation managers means little consistency. Shire representation at the meeting said having a written fire plan may become part of the documentation needed for business registration.

 

Stuart Topless from VicTourism said they have a range of information and handouts available to operators to help with their planning. The use of Fire Danger ratings to trigger certain actions empowers businesses to make good considered decisions. E.g a list of places to visit on days of extreme fire danger.

 

The roundtable will continue meeting next year and I will keep you updated.

 

Wendy Bedggood

 

 

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