The Safety Institute of Australia's (SIA) National Technical Panel (NTP) has lodged its second submission to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission on May 14 2010.
The Commission was establish on February 16 2009 to investigate the causes and responses to the devastating bushfires that swept parts of Victoria in late in early 2009. The NTP, under the chair of Dr George Rechnizer FSIA, prepared a detailed submission through a dedicated group of NTP members and included valuable input from experienced and concerned SIA members.
In the SIA's first submission, 18 recommendations surrounding safety systems were recommended and can be used to support a ‘Living Safety Culture'. This second submission highlights the necessity for a ‘Community Fire Safety Culture' (CFSC), requiring far more effective community wide engagement in Victoria's bush fire prone areas.
The recommended pilot CFSC program is based on a similar program applied to a street community at Ponds Drive in Lara, Victoria. The goal was to significantly raise the level of involvement of residents here, and this was achieved.
"This is clearly vital to ensure that all residents in at-risk bushfire areas are actually knowledgeable and engaged in effective risk prevention measures. This contrasts with the current generally low levels of community engagement, and hence providing only the appearance of preparedness, and not the reality".
The proposed program aims to encourage community participation of all residents, elevate social responsibility and sustain community interest while ensuring that risk information is made available and coordinated localized action within communities is enabled.
The Commission is set to deliver its Final Report in July 2010.
This submission can be viewed via the Royal Commission website http://www.royalcommission.vic.gov.au/Submissions/View-Submissions (Under the letter "S")