The Royal Commission Inquiry into 2009 Victorian ‘Black Saturday’ Bush Fires delivered a number of recommendations that reiterated the importance of educating the community on the most appropriate actions to take prior to and during bush fire. Recommendations 1-5 of the final report, which relate to bush fire safety policy, provide the impetus for the creation of the Community Protection Plan (CPP) frame-work.
In response to recommendations from the Victorian Royal Commission, the NSW State Government has committed to developing local planning strategies for communities at risk of bush fire. In regards to Recommendation 3, a commitment was made for the integration of Neighborhood Safer Places, evacuation and CPPs.
The overall aim of a CPP is to improve the community and organizational capacity to deal with bush fires.
The objectives of a CPP are to:
- Increase the communities understanding of their bush fire risk and provide information that will assist in the preparation of personal bush fire survival plans.
- Clearly identify and depict contingency options available to a given community during a bush fire and evaluate their adequacy.
- Identify and depict the range and timing of treatments applied to a given community that are designed to reduce the bush fire risk and evaluate their adequacy.
- Identify and assess vulnerable facilities and vulnerable residents within a given community.
- Gather and depict key information that will increase the preparedness of fire fighters for bush fire.
The concept incorporates a range of aspects relevant to bush fire risk management into a single document that is prepared at a Community Level.
CPPs will provide the community with easy to understand information that is relevant to them and specific to their local community. A CPP will consist of three maps with supporting documentation that presents:
Bushfire Survival Map- an overview of bush fire risk for the area, the protection options available to the community
Bushfire Preparation Map- the risk treatment works that are currently being implemented and resident preparation area
Brigade Operational Map-. The CPP will also capture important information, including vulnerable communities and residents, special fire protection purpose developments, and hazardous material facilities in the area, which can be used by local brigades and emergency services during pre-incident planning exercises and fire fighting operations.
I have started some of the initial of the mapping of the community and once I have notified the Residents about the concept of the CPP I will be heading out to the Communities to start some field assessments to validate some initial desktop assessments. This may include individual property assessments, and looking at other operational aspects such as available static water supplies, fire trails and so on once the field assessments are complete and I have validated the desktop assessment I will draft the three maps; Bushfire Survival Map, Preparation Map & Brigade Operational Map,
Please note that the Brigade Operational Map is specifically for the Brigade and therefore will only require input from the Brigade, Group Officers and the Local fire management staff. Once these drafts are completed I will be starting the community consultation process to further develop the plan and compile community input, and will be guided by your local knowledge on when and how it is best to hold these consultation meetings within the Communities
I would encourage the association to get as many permanent residents and property owners of the area to attend the community consultation meetings and/or seek to provide input /comments on the plan as we go through the process as this Plan belongs to the Community.
Again thanks for your time and I look forward to working with you through the CPP process over the coming months.
Community Protection Planning & NSP Officer
NSW RURAL FIRE SERVICE
T: 02 4472 0600